Too Much Ain’t Enough by Clinton Gregory

It’s been 20 years since Clinton Gregory last touched the Top 30, itself a rare feat for an independent-label artist. In what might be Nashville’s Rip Van Winkle story of the decade, the staunchly traditional singer/fiddler has poked his head out to find—and happily ignore—a Music City landscape altered by young guns packing rock, pop and rap ammo.

His new album’s opening track, “Too Country for Nashville,” slyly addresses the genre’s questionable practices and past glories in high-stepping style, setting the stage for a collection of steel-guitar-galvanized, jukebox-ready weepers dominated by women and whiskey—subjects well-suited to Clinton’s hangdog baritone. “Bridges,” a dramatic, penetrating depiction of an alcoholic whose spouse can’t quite repair all the damage he inflicts, is a standout that echoes George Jones in his prime.

While a few gospel and novelty numbers offset the pain, Too Much Ain’t Enough is a potently old-school pity party and a respectable, long-overdue return from an acclaimed hard-country prodigal—somewhere between the two, there’s a reason to raise a glass.

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