Album Review: Clay Walker – She Won’t Be Lonely Long

Karlie Justus Marlowe | June 15th, 2010

Clay Walker - She Won't Be Lonely LongDon’t be alarmed if you pick up country veteran Clay Walker’s new album, She Won’t Be Lonely Long, and a few loose pieces of dirt roll off the country crooner’s familiar face.

Walker’s first collection of songs in three years sounds like it was dug up from a backyard time capsule, most likely found alongside a red Power Rangers doll, step-by-step instructions for “The Rachel” haircut and a Zack Morris-sized cell phone.

His brand of solid (nineties) country gold, which saw five number one hits, including “If I Could Make a Living,” “Rumor Has It” and “Dreaming With My Eyes Wide Open,” race up the charts, returns here in near-exact form. Luckily for Walker, a similar recipe has swung back around on mainstream radio.

The album’s title track, easily one of its best, sounds right at home alongside Chris Young and Easton Corbin, whose own song selections take a page out of the Walker playbook. “She Won’t Be Lonely Long” finds the singer comfortably in pocket as an all-knowing romantic sage right up there with the protagonists in Tracy Lawrence’s “Alibis” and John Anderson’s “Straight Tequila Night.”

Tracks “Wrong Enough to Know,” “Like We Never Said Goodbye” and “Where Do I Go From You” sparkle in familiar fashion, marrying Walker’s charismatic blend of flirtation and regret with veteran producer Keith Stegall’s knack for a catchy hook.

Frustratingly, however, the gold to gimmick ratio on She Won’t Be Lonely Long leaves much to be desired. While nearly all of the album’s tunes are sonically in step with Walker’s signature sound (throwaway “A Double Shot of John Wayne,” a reverent cowboy tune too schmaltzy for even George Strait, benefits greatly from beautiful fiddle and steel riffs), cuts such as “All American” and “Summertime Song” make Rodney Atkins’ song catalog seem refined and subtle.

Somewhere in the middle of dazzler and dud is “People in Planes,” an ambitious stab at fusing Walker’s usual song set-up with surprising instrument choices and an ill-advised voice-over. Unfortunately, the detailed lyrical metaphor about the similarities between a plane pilot and God (At the end of the day/Just wantin’ to know it’s gonna be okay/Counting on somebody we can’t see to land this thing) sag under the weight of Walker’s awkward take on adult contemporary pop.

She Won’t Be Lonely Long won’t disappoint longtime fans looking for a fix and boasts plenty of worthwhile, radio-ready singles that sound at once deliciously vintage and effortlessly modern. Unfortunately, Walker also seems intent on upping his 2010 street cred with stereotypical, dime-a-dozen album filler in line with some of today’s most popular country stars.

3 Stars

  1. Janice
    June 15, 2010 at 9:43 am

    “…..cuts such as “All American” and “Summertime Song” make Rodney Atkins’ song catalog seem refined and subtle.”

    That tells me all I need to know. Thanks for a solid review.

  2. PaulaW
    June 15, 2010 at 10:57 am

    I’ll probably get this one eventually. Just because it’s Clay Walker.

  3. Thomas
    June 15, 2010 at 11:26 am

    …sounds like nothing new under the sun, which in this case isn’t a bad thing at all. there’s always been a fair amount of schmaltz on a clay walker album but also some very well sung top-notch ear-candy. i’ve got a sweet tooth.

  4. Drew
    June 15, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Just listened to this last night… not a big fan. I really like the lead single, so I was hoping for bigger things. Most of it is still pleasant enough on the ears, but definitely not special. 3 stars seems right.

  5. Vicki
    June 15, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    I like the song and like this man’s voice. I hope to see him in concert someday.

  6. Rick
    June 15, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    If Clay can lead a 90’s country revival on Top 40 AirHead Country Radio, I’m all for it! At least his voice is still intact, unlike John Michael Montgomery these days.

    I’ve never been much of a fan of Clay’s music and based upon Karlie’s review, I won’t start now. I do think my favorite single from Clay, the calypso styled “Then What”, should have been a much bigger hit than it was. Oh well….

  7. Bobby P.
    June 15, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    ^Re: “Then What?” — Once a song gets to #2, there’s only one possible way it can be a “bigger hit than it was.”

    That was always one of my favorites too.

  8. Janelle
    June 15, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Now I have been a Clay Walker fan since “Where Do I Fit in the Picture”…and was so very happy to hear him on a new cd…but Clay, where are the BALLADS? Its hard doing to find someone that can knock out a killer power ballad like Clay Walker “This Woman & This Man”, “Hypnotize the Moon”, “Watch This”, etc. Clay has such a unique and powerful voice…I missed those sad, soulful tunes on this album!

  9. Michelle
    June 15, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    I haven’t heard the cd, but I love “She Won’t Be Lonely Long.” I like a lot of his songs, especially “Fall” and “This Woman and This Man.” He can always, somehow, make a song sound sexy. How? I guess it’s his voice.

  10. Fizz
    June 15, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    There’s something to be said for “vintage” artists giving the fans what they want, rather than trying to reinvent themselves or needlessly prove how with-it they are. Looks like Mr. Walker offers up plenty of both.

    And a slam on Rodney Atkins to boot! I love to hate that guy!

  11. chris
    June 16, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Wrong Enough to Know is a better song than She Won’t be Lonely Long but Clay tends to release the one’s he shouldn’t like My heart will never know, White palace, and One, two, i love you so i hope he doesn’t leave this one out. it’shis best cd since Live, Laugh, Love. And he is great in concert and i miss the ballads as well. Overall if u love Clay this cd will not change ur mind.

  12. Julia Hughan
    June 16, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    While I am particularly enjoying “Wrong Enough To Know”, I am also really hoping that this record will grow on me.

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