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Play It Loud by Chris Cagle

Grade: B+

My love goes on and on and on and on, sings Chris Cagle in his chart-climbing single, not surprisingly titled “My Love Goes On and On.” In case anyone didn’t get the message, he adds, And on and on and on and on and on and on. Fortunately, this case study in redundancy churns into a catchy ode to lasting love.

Chris infuses his album with high-energy songs, turning his composition “Laredo” from what could have been a slow, mournful ballad into a souped-up hard-driving force to be reckoned with. He explores the disadvantages of playing it safe in “Safe Side”: Yeah, she’s the train that I didn’t take/The big commitment I just couldn’t make/For fear of breaking my heart, I didn’t risk the ride. “Play It Loud” describes the zestful Cagle approach to life, love and music, and he gives us a party-all-night delight in the naughty but nautical “Rock the Boat.”

“Country by the Grace of God” with its predictable lyrics—I’m American born/And country by the grace of God - is a lowlight; we’ve heard this belabored redneck sermon before from Charlie Daniels, Hank Jr. and others who preach that country folks somehow have a lock on the Almighty. It’s one blemish in an otherwise stellar album that launches a singing and writing talent to watch.

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