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Son of a Preacher Man

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Having risen to the top as part of the party-starting duo Big & Rich and expanded his interests into writing hits for others and TV projects like Nashville Star and Gone Country, John Rich now attempts to establish his identity as a solo artist at last. His pre-Big & Rich solo album, Underneath the Same Moon (unreleased until 2006), was a play-it-safe proposition along the lines of his previous band, Lonestar, but Son of a Preacher Man takes a few more chances—with mixed results.

John is one of Nashville’s top songwriters for a reason, and his singing voice is likeable, even if not as distinctive as the opposites-attract harmonies of Big & Rich. Preacher Man only really trips up when the disparate elements of John’s persona collide. It’s difficult to reconcile populist working-man anthems like the topical hit “Shuttin’ Detroit Down” and dead-serious ballads like “Why Does Somebody Always Have to Die” with the Big & Rich-style blinged-out urbanity of flashier tracks like “Everybody Wants to Be Me.”

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