Cornball Country for those with a tolerance for the synthetic:
‘Ain’t nothing like the real thing’, sings Brown on his seventh album, but it is difficult to take him seriously. Welcome Home is sentimental and slickly produced, but overall a bit synthetic: the sort of radio-friendly country music that outsells even the biggest MTV hotshots in the US but often fails to translate elsewhere.
The tracks hit all the usual touchstones: whisky and women (Real Thing, Start Over) noble father figures (My Old Man) and of course the all-powerful US of A (Roots).
Hokey stuff, but it will certainly be a treat for the fans who’ve led him to countless record sales and dozens of Grammy nominations in the States. The unconverted, however, may find themselves feeling like bystanders at a stranger’s hoedown.
This review first appeared in the Belfast Telegraph