Clay Walker – “Where Do I Go From You”

Karlie Justus Marlowe | March 11th, 2011

clay-walker-lonely Songwriters: Clint Daniels, Don Cook and Ryan Tyndell

Just call Clay Walker the comeback kid.

High on alliteration but low on probability, that title makes Walker the country music equivalent of Betty White. The nineties mainstay made a surprisingly impressive run up the charts in 2009, pushing “She Won’t Be Lonely Long,” the first single off his similarly titled ninth studio album, all the way into the top five songs on the country charts.

His neotraditional sound fit snugly into the niche reopened by the Zac Brown Band, Chris Young and Easton Corbin, and the song performed higher than any single since 2000’s “The Chain of Love.” And while that kind of streak up and down radio would make for an erratic line graph, his knack for choosing quality singles that complement his smooth twang and charm has remained constant.

Walker’s latest offering “Where Do I Go From You” is no exception, pairing a well-crafted melody with a solid, engaging performance that’s both a throwback to the singer’s heyday and a worthwhile contribution to contemporary country.

The story is at once vague and uncomfortably specific, the pointed pain of the break-up picking up where a general sketch of a storyline leaves off. Its throwaway opening verses are merely a jumping off point, as the singer revs up for a satisfyingly anguished chorus that pushes Walker’s vocals with the same desperation found in the protagonist’s loss. The intensity is so palpable that the “woo!” lyrical exhale toward the song’s end seems to be a release from both the lovers’ loss and the singer’s own vocal push.

Walker has always fully embraced the emotions of the characters in the stories he artfully crafts, running the gamut from the masked, casual denial of “Who Needs You Baby” to the playful skepticism of “Rumor Has It.” As the mandolin and banjo plug away in the background here, Walker manages to be smug, accusatory and just plain give-out all in the same breath – a complete run-through of the rainbow of emotions following a messy romantic departure.

It’s that level of commitment that serves “Where Do I Go From You” best, and continues to buoy Walker onto radio playlists more than 15 years after his debut.

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  1. [...] charts right now, on the heels of his top five hit “She Won’t Be Lonely Long.” I reviewed the song Friday on the blog, which I thought struck a nice balance between old and new: His neotraditional [...]
  1. Ben Foster
    March 11, 2011 at 7:49 am

    I liked this single pretty well myself, mostly for the arrangement and performance. I like how you point out that it’s a bit of a throwback to his 90s heyday while still being a worthwhile contribution to contemporary country today – definitely true.

  2. Fizz
    March 11, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Pleasant, but not all that exciting. It won’t cause people to change the station when it comes on, which I guess is the idea.

  3. Eric
    March 11, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Not one of my favorites from this great record (which is actually the first from Clay that I’ve ever purchased, but it has certainly not been the last). It’s not bad at all, but I would have gone with “Like We Never Said Goodbye”, “Jesse James”, or “All American”. All are great yet, in my humble opinion, more than radio- friendly enough. Quite a rariety in these days.

  4. Rick
    March 11, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    By mid to late 1990’s Top 40 standards this would have been just another typical and average Top 20 song. By today’s standards this is a definite cut above the typical bombastic Top 40 AirHead Country song working its way up the charts. If Clay can revive that mid-90’s sound on mainstream country radio, I’m all for it and more power to him!

    I think the fact Clay is a gook looking guy really helps him get back in the door what with all the females listening to country radio nowadays. I’d love to hear some new Daryle Singletary on the radio as well, but he doesn’t have the looks to get a Clay Walker style pass. Oh well…

  5. Waynoe
    March 11, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    @Rick – Daryle is a great vocalist. Do you have any updates on him and what he is doing?

  6. Rick
    March 11, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Waynoe, when he appears on the Opry on occasion is about the only time I hear anything about him. I guess he’s always out having too much fun, or getting his ass whooped with a George Jones record! (lol)

    PS – Sunny Sweeney will be joining Brad Paisley’s water logged tour this year. That’s great for Sunny and her Top 40 radio career. Its not so great for Sunny fans like me who don’t give a rat’s ass about Obamavoter Brad and his tiresome music. Dang…

    March 12, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    “By today’s standards this is a definite cut above the typical bombastic Top 40 AirHead Country….”

    A fine and fair observation , I think . Very solid album here from Clay with honest lyrics and performances and adventurous arrangements which always manage to stay accessible .

  8. Bobby Peacock
    March 13, 2011 at 7:26 am

    Eric: I thought All American was painfully cliché, myself. But this one and Like We Never Said Goodbye just screamed “single” to me. I’ve liked just about every single Clay’s ever put out, and this is no exception.

    Maybe the fact that the review is out now means something… could this song catch a second wind? Could more Clint Daniels songs be in the future? (Someone should take A Fool’s Progress already.)

  9. Fizz
    March 13, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    I dunno, Rick, he looks pretty red, white and blue-blooded to me. (Yeah, I know that was a typo in your first post, but i couldn’t resist.)

  10. CountryMusicFan
    March 13, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    This is another good song for him. It is an interesting point that you brought up about “She Won’t Be Lonely Long” being the highest single since 2000. I would have thought “Fall” was a higher charting single. I don’t think it is as good as the last single, but it should hopefully get some airplay on what we call country radio now days.

  11. Waynoe
    March 13, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    @Rick – The Opry was the last I heard him. Man he can sing. Yes he has Jone’s influence but it could be worse. There could be a female singer trying to imitate Jennfier Nettles! Ughh.

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