Album Review: Bobby Pinson – Songs for Somebody
To be honest, I didn’t know who Bobby Pinson was when I saw his name on a list of upcoming releases last week, so I did a little digging to find out what he has done. While searching, I found that his latest album, Songs for Somebody, is his sophomore effort. Just to see what I could expect, I checked out his first album before giving the new one a spin.
When I work, I typically have music playing in the background and couldn’t tell you who or what I listened to when I try to recall, but while I was playing Bobby Pinson’s debut album, Man Like Me, whatever I was working on faded to the background instead. I recognized a few of the songs from the radio and wondered why I didn’t know his name. A couple of the singles charted and he has written songs that garnered success for other artists, including Sugarland’s first #1 hit, “Want To.”
Pinson explores themes of redemption, regrets, and triumphs; the essence of the human spirit. He sings about growing up and an understanding of the things that come with experience. The vocals are rough, but it works for him. I don’t know of anyone to better describe Pinson’s music than Pinson himself. He calls it “Gutter and Grace” and describes it as “a John Deere tractor with an airplane engine.”
If you like songs with emotion and lyrics with substance, the opening track, “Back in My Drinking Day,” is fantastic. The strum of a single guitar and the soft, gritty vocals of Pinson start the song and inject it with a sense of honesty as you look back to the past through the eyes of a man that has woken from alcoholism. The source of his redemption, whether the love of a woman or by God’s grace (or both), is left a mystery; either way, though, it works.
In “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” Pinson sings about overcoming vices and knowing he’s better for his triumphs, but still reminiscing about they way they made him feel. In one particularly memorable verse that conveys the internal conflict perfectly, Pinson sings “I’ve got a ghost / who likes to drink and smoke / and bring her home at night/ he still rattles his chains…”
Later on in the album is Pinson’s current single, according to his website, “Past Comin’ Back,” an upbeat number with some drive to it. It pushes forward and doesn’t look back and although it isn’t the strongest title on the album, it’s still entertaining.
With the recent chatter about Tim McGraw’s performance on the ACM awards and Colin Raye’s latest single, Pinson has his own soldier number in “If I Don’t Make It Back.” He sings about the selflessness of a buddy that goes off to war, telling his friends not to waste any tears on him and enjoy life to its fullest if he doesn’t make it back. While I was left thinking about the outcome of the song, I thought back to an earlier track on the album, “If I Met God Tonight,” and the words Pinson sang, “It’s just amazing grace is such a small consolation for him taking her from us before our time / Who am I to say what’s wrong or what’s best, dressed like yesterday with whiskey on my breath, the devil on my back and the stack of regrets, that I’d like to get off my chest.”
This definitely ain’t your mainstream fluff and the rock influences are apparent. Not quite proven, Bobby Pinson has started his career with his best foot forward and built on his initial release, showing that he is an adept songwriter in the process. These are lyrics with substance and experience. Vocals with grit. Raw and honest music at its finest. Give this album a listen, I think you’ll enjoy it.
Listen on CMT’s Hear Music Now: Bobby Pinson – Songs For Somebody
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