It Ain’t All Bad by Steve Wariner

It’s been eight years since ’80s and ’90s star Steve Wariner released an album that wasn’t completely instrumental. It Ain’t All Bad, Steve’s new release, brings his voice back into the mix on a group of songs he wrote with some of Nashville’s finest.

The title track, showcasing top-notch guitar work, offers a litany of economic and financial woes plaguing the country at present, but then Steve says it’s OK because he’s got his baby to keep him happy. Try telling that to folks out of work and facing bankruptcy.

More successful is “Voodoo,” a chugging ode to a lady who casts a mean spell.

Also interesting are the out-there explorations, like the jazzy “Bluebonnet Memories,” that show Steve still has full command of Chet Atkins-bestowed “certified guitar player” status.

Unfortunately, there’s just too much let’s-all-get-along stuff like “Spokes in a Wheel,” but the acoustic “’48 Ford” and its sepia-toned memories of time with his dad prove Steve’s still got something to say. 

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Other performers include Rodney Crowell, Patty Griffin and Jason Isbell.