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Music Review - `Then...And One More Day` by Westley Dennis (dmac)

Westley Dennis - Then...And One More Day  (click on image to watch video)

 2 June 2021

 

Black

Back in the mid-90s, Wesley Dennis was signed to Mercury Nashville Records and touring with Alan Jackson. He certainly has the sort of traditional country voice that would appeal to Jackson fans, too. For whatever reason, though, Dennis didn’t become a household name within the mainstream country world. Listening to his new Then And One More Day leaves the listener wondering why Dennis never became famous. There’s most assuredly a story there somewhere because this man is a great country singer and comes off as ‘one that got away,’ somehow.

Dennis also sings the kinds of country songs we sadly just don’t hear any longer. There’s one here about cheating, “Where Are All The Girls I Used To Cheat With,” which wonders aloud about whatever happened to all the loose women this guy slept with. Have you noticed how no country songs even have the word “cheating” in their titles/lyrics these days? Then there are a couple of the album’s songs about prison. These days, you might only hear rappers detailing their incarcerations in song. One titled “Alabama Dreams,” though, is sung from the perspective of an imprisoned man daydreaming about one day finally being free. Then with “All My Friends Are Beyond Bars” (which features Chris Keefe), details a long list of friends doing hard time. Nashville is so squeaky clean these days, listeners just don’t hear stories about such imprisoned outlaws. It’s as though Music City tries to pretend this side of life no longer exists. However, the U.S. incarcerates more people than any other country in the world, and most certainly many of these prisoners are also country folk. 

“This Song’s For You,” which includes a familiar list of unsung heroes, such as servicemen with various callings, is not unfamiliar to country music audiences. It’s not uncommon for country artists to salute the military during live performances, after all. However, on it Dennis also gives a shout-out to women that choose not to have abortions. You wouldn’t expect such praise even in modern day mainstream country music. Contemporary country music leans conservative, but not usually THAT conservative. Anti-abortion sentiments can sometimes be found in Christian music, but few other places than that.

Musically, these songs incorporate all the wonderful instrumental elements traditional country music fans love most. The album’s title track sports lots of fiddle, honky tonk piano, steel guitar and electric guitars that go twang. These are beautiful sounds to a traditionalist’s ears. Yes, there are still great songs coming out of Nashville these days. However, most of these recordings also include big, booming drums and hard rocking electric guitar. The lyrics may read like country songs, but the sound is much closer to classic rock. Dennis puts his resonant country voice to equally downhome sounds, which is much appreciated. 

While Dennis’ sound can be called a throwback to a seemingly bygone country music days, his songs are nevertheless still relevant. The aforementioned Alan Jackson’s latest album, Where Have You Gone, is proof positive that an artist can ‘keep it country,’ and still remain in the mainstream. There is room in Nashville for more artists like Jackson. Jon Pardi and George Strait still get played on the radio, for instance. Wesley Dennis deserves a place on contemporary playlists, too, because his Then…And One More Day is a strong traditional country music album. Please don’t allow him to become the one that got away, again.

 

Music Reviewer - Dan MacIntosh

 

Dan MacIntosh - Dan MacIntosh has been a professional music journalist for 30 years and his work has regularly appeared in many local and national publications, including Inland Empire Weekly, CCM, CMJ, Paste, Mean Street, Chord, HM, Christian Retailing, Amplifier, Inspirational Giftware, Stereo Subversion, Indie-Music, Soul–Audio, Roughstock.com, Country Standard Time and Spin.com. 

To Read All of Dan's Reviews, Click Here

 

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