While the mainstream radio charts have yet to take to Larry Fleet’s brand of county music (the brilliant single “Where I FInd God” is his highest-charting single on that tally at 43 from his album Stack of Records), the White Bluff, Tennessee native’s brand of country songs, which blend his life experiences as a husband, father and good time having blue collar guy have found an audience as he showcases on the 21 track album Earned It.
While Larry Fleet co-wrote a majority of this album’s tracks, one he didn’t, “Lucky Dog” has an interesting twist in the lyrics and shows why lablemate HARDY has become an in-demand songwriter. HARDY co-wrote “Lucky Dog,” with Zach Abend and Smith Ahnquist. The song is actually how his old dog gets to stay with the woman he lost, a new twist on the old “I miss her as she’s with someone new” tale.
“Ain’t Mad At Jesus” is a song about a man realizing the err of his ways as it tells a tale of lost love through the lens of a man who partied too hard and too late to keep the woman in his life while “The Things I Take For Granted” is a sweet reminder of a man happy for the little things he does have in his life, even as he wishes and wants for more things. That sweet fiddle and steel guitar backing up the acoustic-laced ballad help grind the song into the country music sweet spot. The production here could’ve easily been bombastic and loud but Fleet and producer Joey Moi smartly don’t do that here.
There’s a shuffling feel to “Beer Needs A Beer” that makes the song ready for saw dust filled honky tonk floors and the classic country chugging beat of “There’s A Waylon” serves as an ode to both the namesake (Jennings, that is) and the kind of watering hole where a man can have a good time, as long as it has some outlaw county around. It’s clever in its lyrical delivery the same as “Layaway” tells the true to life story of blue collar, making ends meet families who find ways to get their kids and spouses the things they desire, even if they can’t pay for such things outright.
If there’s a song on this record that needs to be on radio and a huge hit, it’s “25-8.” It’s a true to country music story song with the kind of “man I wish I wrote that” lyrical line (about how things would be better if 24/7 became 25-8). Another one Larry Fleet didn’t write, this one was instead written by Casey Beathard, Jim Wolf and Nicolette Hayford. Another outside song, the closer “Young Buck” (writers: Devin Dawson, John Byron, Andy Albert, Jacob Durrett), tells a story about life passing in a blink of an eye and how it’s best to live life in the here and now. Another closing song on this 21 track country music opus is “Daddy Don’t Drink,” a song co-written by Larry Fleet with Luke Laird and Derek Bahr. In this one, he sings about changing his wayward ways as he became a father. It’s a song Randy Travis-like story song about family and being the best father you can be to your children.
And that’s what makes Larry Fleet a great artist on the modern country music scene. His music is honest and speaks to the everyman and everywoman out there and it isn’t all about parties and good times (though that’s still present here and there in this music). No, instead, Earned It is a collection of songs about real country songs are usually abut: life.