Then Came The Night (RCA Records)
Tommy Shane Steiner opens his debut album by singing about breaking his daddy's heart, when I dropped the plow and picked up this guitar. That's not far from the truth -- Tommy turned his back on the family rodeo business to take up music.
So far, that decision is looking smart. His sweetly sentimental "What If She's An Angel" is a Top 5 smash -- and it could be just the first of many hits from his 11-track CD.
For instance, Tommy offers the gently pulsating "Tell Me Where It Hurts," and adds a new emotional dimension to Paul Davis' much-recorded '70s pop hit "I Go Crazy." He echoes the wounded theme of "Crazy" on "And Yet," haunted by the memory of a long-lost fiancee.
Tommy also tries a couple of interesting duets. "What We're Gonna Do About It" features a perky spoken contribution from actress Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, but much better is "I Don't Need Another Reason," a musical conversation between two old pals, featuring Randy Travis.
It's no easier becoming a star than tangling with a bucking bronc, but Tommy Shane Steiner looks like one cowboy who can beat those tough odds.
-- Mark Marymont