Album Review: Walt Wilkins - Plenty

There are Plenty of counry music albums released every month and year but clearly there are also Plenty of them that are nowhere near as strong as Walt Wilkins' debut for Ride Records. Read on to see our thoughts on Plenty here (and to listen to the whole CD)!

Over the course of his career, Walt has released a steady stream of music both as a solo artist and with his band The Mystiqueros and after releasing Diamonds In The Sun in 2007 with the band, he returned to solo acoustic work with the spiritual Vigil in 2010. That record, which was made possible by an angel investor that wanted nothing in return, was then in turn turned into a non-profit charitable album which benefitted The Longevity Foundation. Meaning Walt and his 'benefactor' are giving the record away.  "Trains I Missed" was one of the 15 strong tunes and the album in turn served as the perfect bridge recording between the full band Diamonds and now Walt's full band solo album Plenty.

And what a great collection of Country Music Plenty is. The self-penned "Just Be" revels in the simplicity of not having anywhere to go or anywhere to be and rather than get caught up in the thick of the rat race, Walt sings about taking in the beauty of the world around us, "Just listen to the song singing on the breeze/that's just the universe through the cottonwood leaves" he sings. "Hang On To Your Soul" has graceful wisdom with a chorus that just slays me every time I hear it.

"Ain't It Just Like Love" and "Soft September Night" are both co-writes with Liz Rose and Monte Warden (who's a talented artist/writer in his own right) with the former being an uptempo gem that recalls the best of 90s country (The Mavericks, Radney Foster, Warden's own albums) while the latter is a ballad (but still a gem) about spending time with the one you love with each lyric a poetic reading and musically, strains of soft steel guitar guide the melody along (including a beautiful solo). Rose also co-wrote "Something Like Heaven" and "Gray Hawk" with Walt. The latter was also co-written by Lori McKenna.  Both songs are brilliantly phrased and performed acoustic story songs with the latter song one of those introspective soul-searching types that used to anchor nearly every Country Music album worth it's salt. 

"Rain All Night" and "Maybe Everybody Quit Cheatin" bring a little more tempo to the table with "Rain" being a soulful, R&B-romantic song that would sound great on virtually any Mainstream Country artist's album, particularly David Nail, while the latter one finds Walt lamenting the lack of wild hearts and the fact that there seems to be nobody 'cheatin' anymore. Monte Warden co-wrote "A Farm-To-Market Romance with Walt and like his other tunes here there's a Traditional Country feel to the tune, this one a Stone Country waltz in the grand tradition of Hank Cochran.

Plenty closes out with "Under This Cottonwood Tree (This Is It)" and "Between Midnight & Day." Both are well within the confines of this strong collection of storytelling Country Music. This is not the country music you're likely to hear on many mainstream albums (at least a whole album of it) but it's likely to be mined by big named artists who come looking for any of these songs, particularly "Under This Cottonwood Tree (This Is It)." There's always Plenty of great music to listen to but there's clearly not Plenty of albums like Walt Wilkins Plenty.

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