For about 25 years Marty Raybon has been recording music and while many artists have come and gone he’s still around making music. And with as great a set of vocal chords as Marty Raybon has, it’s hard to argue with his persistence, even as radio seemingly has moved on from his singles. Marty is at the point in his career where he can record the kind of country songs that he wants to record, not what his record label thinks is a ‘hit.’ That’s what makes this new project, his first for Grand Vista Records truly Marty Raybon At His Best. That is to say that there’s nothing on the album but Grade-A country music.
“I Just Want To Touch You” is the kind of up-tempo album opener that Marty has recorded for many years but instead of feeling like a clichéd mess, the song is as strong as any previous track Marty has recorded and would sound great on the radio in between the latest hits from Josh Turner and Carrie Underwood. As we chronicled in our review of “Daddy Phone,” this is a great comeback single that will hit home to any parent who is away from their children. It’s a stunning song that is without a doubt one of 2010’s strongest singles.
Written with John Fountain and Tommy Wright, “The Heat Is On” is one of five tracks co-written by Marty for At His Best and it’s a great little Conway-like romantic track complete with fantastic fiddle fills from Larry Franklin, mandolin from Adam Steffey, slide guitar from Jeff King and fantastic harmonica from Jim Hoke. “Big Pain” is another of the five songs co-written by Marty and throughout the song Marty sings wrings every emotion out of the lyric. “The Change” is as emotional and mature as anything Marty’s ever done and recalls “Remember When” from Alan Jackson. It’s also as stone country a ballad as you’re likely to find on any mainstream release in 2010.
If I were to pick a song to be second single from this record I would go with “Still My Little Man (Matty’s Song)” a loving and heartfelt tribute by Marty to his U.S. Army son and something that parents all over the country will no doubt relate to if they get the chance to hear it. “I Am Coming Home” is an achingly sad yet beautiful song about a man who eulogizes the love of his life after she passes away. While Marty Raybon may never get another big radio hit he certainly isn’t lacking in talent as At His Best is clearly one of the best albums I’ve had the pleasure of listening to so far in 2010.