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Music Review - 'Ain’t That a Cheyne' by Junior Cheyne (dm)

Junior Cheyne  - Ain’t That a Cheyne  (Click to watch the video)

4 November 2019


Black“Ain’t That a Cheyne,” the new record from Junior Cheyne has laudable ambition and intention. The back cover of the CD slipcase declares, “Country music has been drying up.” The drought is certainly real and damages the ecology of a once-great American art form. In an attempt at a rain dance, Cheyne summons some wonderful and easily identifiable influences – Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Vince Gill.

Cheyne’s songwriting has the strength and versatility necessary to support his lofty ambitions. His lyrics contain memorable lines in almost every song – from “Old farts don’t die / They just run out of gas” to the bulls-eye accuracy of “You Won’t Like Country Music (If You’ve Never Cried,” a song that pays tribute to the best of the genre, and its unrivaled ability to explore the complexities of adult emotions.

The music includes adept compositions and arrangements of outlaw country, cry in your beer ballads, and lighthearted country tunes full of wit and whimsy.

Cheyne has much to offer as musical assets – effectual lyrics, obvious sophistication when it comes to country music, and skillful songwriting. The problem with “Ain’t That a Cheyne” is its restrained delivery. Aside from a few, isolated moments of aggression, the record lacks energy.

Either due to the subdued nature of the band or flat production, these songs never seem to reach their full potential. Instead, they sound like they are coming through a small radio with a wet towel over the speaker. If Cheyne can remove whatever is muffling these songs, they can stand alongside the heroes of the outlaw country movement that they cleverly emulate.  


 David Masciotra



David Masciotra ( is the author of four books, including Barack Obama: Invisible Man (Eyewear Publishing, 2017) and Mellencamp: American Troubadour (University Press of Kentucky, 2015).

To read all of David's reviews, click here 





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