"Phil Stacey," Phil Stacey (Lyric Street Records)
"American Idol" runners-up have a predictable path: slick production, mediocre sales and the unfortunate not-good-enough-to-win stamp on their foreheads. Phil Stacey's debut album will stand out from that pack.
Country's most prolific writers penned most of the radio-ready tunes. Gary LeVox, frontman from label-mate Rascal Flatts, co-wrote the single "If You Didn't Love Me."
But aside from an occasional banjitar, the instrumentation has more pop leanings than country. And some songs, such as "No Way Around a River," shine with the lyrical power of a crossover.
So while this may not be straight-up country, Stacey's brand of country sounds apt for newer/younger/hipper fans.
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