Can You Hear Me Now (Curb)

For 20 years, Sawyer Brown has made a cottage industry of escapist songs. And on its 18th album, Can You Hear Me Now, knowing how to party hearty still works to Sawyer Brown's advantage.

SB's finely tuned musical engine offers motoring perfection on the good-natured day-in-the-life anthem "Hard Hard World" and the sizzling summer love song "She's An I've Got To Have You Girl." The creative sparkplug only misfires on "I Need A Girlfriend," a lyrically stale song offering high-school hormones dressed up in grade-school sentiment.

The remaining seven songs succeed while tackling more serious fare. The title cut, fueled by a chugging bass line and energetically strummed acoustic guitars, is a plea for communication, both romantic and religious. The grateful "Circles" and the reverent ballad "I Got A Plan" carry Christian overtones. "Someone" is a romantic ode of dedication destined for use in future weddings, while "Where Was I" is certainly one of the saddest songs of the year. But the real secret of Can You Hear Me Now's success is its variety. That's why, 20 years into its career, Sawyer Brown is still making itself heard.

-- Nick Krewen

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