Can't Back Down (Sony Nashville)
Collin Raye doesn't really take any stylistic chances with album number eight - but why change what his fans obviously want? Since his 1991 chart-topper "Love, Me," Collin has consistently delivered songs with depth and meaning.
Can't Back Down continues that tradition - in fact, perseverance seems to be the theme throughout this collection. The album's title arose from his tenacity during some trying personal times, making it all the more telling.
Collin's resolve is clearly illustrated in such timely songs as "Ain't Nobody Gonna Take That From Me," about holding memories and pride deep inside our hearts, and "What I Need," about a man who prays for strength, courage and faith, then gets them by overcoming fear and emptiness.
Collin's golden tenor is convincing as he plays the brokenhearted lover in "It Could Be That Easy" and "I Can Let Go Now." But this album does offer up some rhythmic grooves, too: "Gypsy Honeymoon" is reminiscent of 1996's upbeat hit "I Think About You," and "Young As We're Ever Gonna Be" is an ode to the eternal fountain of youth.
Collin Raye hasn't backed down yet - let's hope he never does.
-- Maria Konicki Dinoia