Eldredge is not just a fine singer; he also had a hand in writing 11 of the 12 songs on his debut album, Bring You Back. Although this album’s title track treats the ebbs and flows in romantic relationship quite seriously, Eldredge generally takes a whimsical approach to life and love. One of the album’s fun songs is “On and On.” It truly pegs the way most men are, in that it finds this guy talking on and on about a girl, even though he’s usually not much of a talker. Eldredge sings it over a funky little guitar riff that just feels good.
Some of Eldredge’s fun spirit can be pinned to the way he phrases his lyrics. For instance, he coins the word ‘conversatin’’ during “On and On.” Then on “Gotta Get There,” he sings ‘aero plane,’ instead of ‘airplane.’ Touches like these stand out as small examples of lyrical personalizing, which set him apart from everybody else. These are Eldredge’s words, without question. It’s one of the beauties of an artist that helps to write his own songs, in that it staves off the tendency to record generic songs. And the most of these songs are anything but generic.
With that said, though, one called “Beat of the Music” is relatively dull and – dare we say it, generic — when compared to the rest of the album, in that it puts Eldredge into a Kenny Chesney party animal mode where he finds himself falling in love with a girl in some foreign land, overtaken by her good looks and the sound of music. It’s the sort of lyric that only seems to make sense in romantic comedy movies, but rarely rings true in real life. It’s a familiar, overused plot that just doesn’t resonate as reality.
One called “Waited Too Long” is much more suited to Eldredge’s voice. It features phrases that require the singer hold out notes for a long time and show off the power and flexibility of his beautiful vocal instrument. He sounds a bit like an Allman Brother, in that the track takes on a bit of a Southern rock ballad feel. It even features a Southern rock-y electric guitar solo, to boot.
It’ll be interesting to watch how many people Eldredge’s music brings into the country music fold, as his sound comes off as bridge music. He just has the sort of voice that many non-country music fans might not think of as country. There also aren’t many staple country instrumental elements rising up in these songs. For instance, when the fiddle part in “Signs” comes alone at track 10, you may say to yourself, ‘Where has all the fiddle been?’ because that instrument is suddenly conspicuous by its absence previously. And yet, you won’t hold its exclusion against Eldredge. Maybe it’s this album’s overall sonic warmth that makes it feel undeniably Country, even without many of the more obvious aural clues.
And who knows, maybe Elredge’s unique take on the style may even bring a few Prodigal Son Country fans back to the genre.