Album Review: Bucky Covington’s Self Titled Debut

Brady Vercher | April 23rd, 2007

Bucky Covington When Bucky Covington was on American Idol, I rooted for him because he was so unapologetically country. I didn’t think he was good enough to win and certainly didn’t think I would enjoy any album he put out when compared to artists already in the game, but as an amateur on American Idol, he was my man. Bucky’s self titled debut album, however, suprised me.

The album starts of with “American Friday Night,” a sweet southern rocker of a song that honors life in a small town, although the town he sings about must be quite a bit bigger than the one I grew up, because we didn’t have a Domino’s pizza or a movie theater. I personally didn’t think Covington could sound this good; it’s definitely his sweet spot.

Next up is “A Different World,” the lead single off of his album recollects the way things used be when he was a kid. The difference in sound between this and the rest of the album is startling and I might feel gypped if I bought the album expecting more of the same. On its own, the song stands up fairly well, I kinda enjoy it, so it isn’t a terrible track. I also thinks it highlights the difference between rural and urban America. Where the song could seem nostalgic from the perspective of an urbanite, it merely focuses on the changes that lag behind in rural areas.

“I’ll Walk” follows and despite having a different sound yet again, it’s a solid offering, but not representative of what I think is Bucky’s strong suit. The fourth song, “Back When We Were Gods,” jumps back to a slight southern rock sound, where Bucky shines. The title is a play on the old adage about teenagers thinking they know more than anybody and their belief that they’re ready to take on the world and is reflected in this lyric: “Thought we were invincible, couldn’t nothing bring us down / But it didn’t take long for the real world to knock us flat on the ground.

Convington continues showing his strength with “Ain’t No Thing.” Even though I think this is the style that Bucky should stick with, I didn’t particularly care for this song because it sounds like he’s shouting to be heard over the music. It could have been better. “I’m Good” is reminiscent of something Clay Walker would sing, but I don’t think Bucky has the chops to pull it off; this attempt certainly doesn’t.

The seventh track, “Empty Handed,” is a high energy rocker that starts off strong, but somewhere in the middle of the song, the lyrics become rushed and watered down and killed the song for me. In the context of the album, Bucky’s next number, “Hometown,” seems a bit trite in its rehashing of the theme of nostalgia and love of the rural life. On its own, though, it’s a solid song with a solid delivery. “It’s Good To Be Us” is an upbeat, fast paced track, with a catchy tune, but it’s a little too close to pop and doesn’t fit Bucky’s style. “Carolina Blue” is a bland vocal performance and highlights how limited Covington is vocally, as he shows almost no range. The slight smokiness that works in his rockers flops on this one.

The final song, “Bible And The Belt,” ends the album on a strong note, and who woulda thunk it, but it’s another rocker. It makes me wish the producers would have figured out what he was good at and stuck to it.

Overall, the album seems to be Bucky’s tribute to the styles of country music that he loves; it was all over the place. The problem is that he doesn’t do a good job of letting people know who he is or what they can expect from him. My advice to Bucky is: stick to the southern rock, buddy. I think if people give Bucky a chance, though, they might just enjoy him. I realize he’s not the latest Nashville heartthrob, might look a little goofy, and doesn’t have the most powerful voice, but I think it makes him a little more human and easier to relate to.

3 Stars

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  1. [...] 9513 has chimed in with a review of Bucky Covington’s debut CD - Brady gives it three stars -  and a fascinating write-up of Dale Watson’s show at the Broken Spoke which is as much a [...]
  1. Chris
    April 23, 2007 at 11:13 am

    The album’s pretty good overall, but “I’ll Walk” is far and away the worst thing I’ve heard all year. I have really had it with country songs about injury, disease and death (except murder, which is always welcome), and this one plays more like a parody. If you built an SNL “Digital Short” around it, it would be funnier than “Dick in a Box.”

  2. Matt C.
    April 23, 2007 at 11:24 am

    Yes, “I’ll Walk” was horribly contrived. Maybe I’m wrong about this album, as my assessment of it was much harsher than all of the other reviews I’ve read, but I really hated it. I thought it was a centerless mix of phony southern rock, contrived and pandering country-pop and misplaced nostalgia.

  3. Brody Vercher
    April 23, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    It’s funny that you mention the parody aspect, Chris, because it reminds me of one of the conversations in the movie Stranger Than Fiction. Dustin Hoffman is trying to figure out what kind of story Will Ferrel is in, a comedy or a tragedy, and Ferrel says it has to be a tragedy because he dies at the end.

    In that sense “I’ll Walk” comes off as kind of comedic as opposed to the tragic “Don’t Take the Girl” from Tim McGraw.

  4. Bunny
    April 23, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    wow, we must be hearing different things because I thought the whole album was remarkable for a debut CD. The first and last tracks are definitely my favs as the southern rock sound and both are very strong and well done. Maybe guys just don’t get the joy and hope expressed in “I’ll Walk” but it brought happy tears to my eyes at the end. I love the beat of “I’m Good” and the fiestiness of “Back When We were Gods”. There is something in Bucky’s voice that makes each song unique and believable, contrary to the opinions of the other 3 above me. I think the versatility shown on the album is a major plus and he is not goofy-looking at all. I think he is quite the looker and so do my daughter (26) and my mom. His charming personality and honesty shine through in the lyrics and I think this album will do just fine on the charts.

  5. DIVER
    April 23, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    Come on..this album is great with tremendous diversity. If you do not like “I’ll Walk”, move on to other songs. Personally, I think the song shows off perfect vocals. Brady, I have to disagree with you on two things: the album shows exactly who Bucky he has said in many interviews, to know him, listen to this CD as a part of him is in each song. Secondly, he IS a Nashville heartthrob..did you not see him on the red carpet for the CMT award ..drop dead gorgeous. This site is in dire need of some female critics.

  6. Brady Vercher
    April 23, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    I threw that line about Bucky looking goofy in there so that when he undoubtedly reads our highly popular website, he’ll feel good when the mad rush of hot females proclaim how wrong I am. I guess I’ll shutup now about things I know nothing about, particularly the hotness level of my male brethren. I only speak in jest :)

  7. Rosie
    April 23, 2007 at 11:36 pm

    I don’t mean this to be rude, but it is hard to take seriously any writer who does not know the difference between “its” and “it’s.” Simple rule: If you can un-hyphenate it to “it is,” then it’s “it’s” – otherwise, it’s “its.”

    I think Bucky’s album is very good for a first effort, though I agree that Southern rock is the better style for him. I don’t particularly care for “I’ll Walk,” but he still sings it convincingly. Actually, I would’ve preferred to hear more songs that he had written, to hear more of his own voice than someone else’s through him.

  8. Baron Lane
    April 24, 2007 at 4:56 am

    Don’t you love it when folks say “I don’t mean to be…” and then are? Rosie, welcome to the wild world of blog.

    Actually the 9513 folks were quite generous. Over at my neck of the woods we see an “artist” that crawled from that cultural septic tank American Idol and we grab the big guns.

    Life’s (as in Life is) too short to waste on pre-fab country by the yard. There’s too much good talent busting their humps in vans and honky-tonks all over this great nation that need your support, bands and artists with too much pride to go on national TV and be ridiculed by some limey prick.

  9. Brady Vercher
    April 24, 2007 at 6:44 am

    Thanks for pointing that out, Rosie, and yes, I know the difference. Sorry to here that its affecting your opinion, though ;)

  10. Baron Lane
    April 24, 2007 at 10:44 am

    Did you put “here” just to be snarky? Please say yes…

  11. Brady Vercher
    April 24, 2007 at 10:58 am

    Yep, and their is one more. Oops, two more.

  12. Chris
    April 24, 2007 at 11:37 am

    I could have warned you never to cross Bucky fans. They’re passionate, motivated and well-organized.

  13. Brody Vercher
    April 24, 2007 at 11:51 am

    Sounds like the words of experience :P

  14. Diver
    April 24, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    In regard to Baron’s comment:
    “Life’s (as in Life is) too short to waste on pre-fab country by the yard. There’s too much good talent busting their humps in vans and honky-tonks all over this great nation that need your support, bands and artists with too much pride to go on national TV and be ridiculed by some limey prick.” I agree. Bucky worked 10 years in bars and honky-tonks in the Carolinas prior to giving in to people telling him to try out for Idol. I am so glad he did.

  15. Baron Lane
    April 24, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    Bucky might have worked 10 years in bars and honky-tonks in the Carolinas but Nashville took just a few months to ruin him and make him into “product.”

  16. Diver
    April 24, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    Thanks so much , Brady, for reviewing Bucky’s CD. I hope people will give him a chance and listen to it having read about it in your blog. That is all you can ask. I have had the opportunity to meet him a few times at his concerts and he is exactly as he appears- humble, appreciative, hard working and a great entertainer. Best of luck to him as he pursues his dream.

  17. Shelly Ryan
    April 24, 2007 at 6:36 pm

    Bucky is a devastatingly handsome guy. Yum.

    Thanks for the review.

  18. hairandtoenails
    December 18, 2007 at 10:55 pm

    I just heard “A Different World” on the radio for the first time in ages and that song really, really bugs me. The Lines “no child proof lids no seat belts in cars/Rode bikes with no helmets and still her we are…” are troublesome because so many childhood deaths have been prevented due to seat belts and helmets. Bucky may have survived without those things as a kid, but a lot of kids were injured or killed.

    If this is supposed to be nostalgia, it fails. A nostalgic song should mention the good things of an era gone by, not the bad. If you want to be nostalgic about tail fins, thats fine. But being nostalgic about lack of seat belts about lead based paint? That’s silly.

    If this song is supposed to be about the differences between rural and urban areas, as the review mentions, it also fails: seat belts in cars and new furniture without lead based paint are available nation-wide. Some rural areas may have held on to the pledge of allegiance and school prayer and the like longer than urban areas, though. But if the point is to highlight urban-rural differences, Covington sure never makes it clear.

    If these lines aren’t supposed to be nostalgic (as I think) or supposed to highlight a rural-urban difference (as the reviewer thinks) then I don’t know what the purpose of them is. The song seems really confused to me at best and at worst it seems to be engaging in nostalgia for things that should be left in the past.

  19. Hollerin' Ben
    December 18, 2007 at 11:46 pm

    hairandtoenails – I completely agree. That’s why I totally hate that song.

    A single has to get heard by so many people, songwriter, A&R guy, producer, engineer, artist, radio promoter, program director, etc etc before it gets to us.

    You’d think someone would say “uh, this is false”

    Bucky would look, eyes glazed over, “what’s false?”

    “the “we’re still here” part”

    “but we are still here”

    “uh, what about all the kids who died of brain trauma from bike accidents, or the kids who died in car crashes, or the kids who died from lead poisoning? yaknow, the dead kids. They aren’t here. We’re all here, except those of us who died tragically from preventable injuries.”

    “hmmmm…..I don’t follow you.”

    Man I hate this song.

  20. Matt B
    December 19, 2007 at 6:05 am

    Yeah but if you take the OTHER side of the coin here, you get the most likely reason for it being popular. It’s because more people survived in spite of of the bad decisions people made ‘back then.’ Even if Covington really couldn’t have lived the majority of these lyrics. I certainly haven’t.

  21. bz
    March 5, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    wow, i love all the negative reviews. negative reviews always demonstrate such intellectual prowess. i’m so glad that so many brilliant minds took the time to tell us laymen their feelings on this CD. by tearing down bucky and the songs on his CD, you have proven yourselves as superior beings.

    i personally think that there are some great songs on the album.

    good job, bucky. it’s definitely a different album than a lot of what’s out on country radio these days. kudos.

  22. Hollerin' Ben
    March 5, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Interesting perspective Matt B., I’d never thought of it just that way.

    Plus, if you’re going to pick and choose which demographic to appeal to, either kids who died, or kids who lived, you have to figure that the kids who lived probably have more dough lying around to purchase Bucky cd’s with.

    It’s all clear to me now….

  23. Midas
    April 21, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    Wow – pretty serious lashings being dealt for someone’s freshman album. I am sure that Merle, Waylon, Willie, et al did not have debut albums that were all that either. And no, I am not comparing Bucky to the all time greats. I am saying that it takes time to hone vocal skills, find your niche, and make it work. For a freshman album I think it is pretty good. I for one am looking forward to what this young artist will bring in the future.

  24. Midas
    April 21, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    er – wrong page, excuse the above…sigh

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