Nothing Personal (New West)
Delbert McClinton is the consummate barroom bluesman, smooth and soulful with just a dash of Texas roadhouse grit. For 40 years, his blend of R&B, honky-tonk, blues and rock 'n' roll has earned him the respect of critics, fans and fellow musicians.
Delbert keeps that reputation intact with Nothing Personal, his first album in four years. These 13 Delbert originals range from the frenetically rocking "Livin' It Down" and "Squeeze Me In" to the subdued Tex-Mex ballad "When Rita Leaves" and the gentle weeper "Birmingham Tonight."
Delbert is at his best on the slower songs, where his world-weary voice gives depth to the desperation of lines like I can't help but feel/That everything would be alright/If I could be in Birmingham tonight. But he's nearly as good on the sly, sexy blues of "Baggage Claim" and "All Night Long," and his ace band of studio musicians provides plenty of fire throughout.
Nothing Personal may not spin off a breakout smash like 1992's "Every Time I Roll The Dice," but it doesn't seem like making hits has ever been a big concern for Delbert. He's simply crafted yet another album full of great songs, played well and sung with conviction -just like he's done for the past four decades.
- Matthew T. Everett