OUT OF ROAD (Curb Music)
My friend Bobby Tomberlin is a member of a fairly exclusive ‘club’ … a hit songwriter who really can sing on a par with any of today’s major Country artists. He’s been involved in the music business since he was eleven and has been a staff writer at Curb Records Publishing for 14+ years, writing or co-writing songs cut by Diamond Rio (“One More Day”), Kenny Rogers, The Oak Ridge Boys, Lee Greenwood, Josh Turner and many more.
The immaculately produced (by Tomberlin and PJ West) OUT OF ROAD serves as the ideal showcase, not only of Tomberlin’s writing chops, but also of his fine voice and spot-on delivery. The album features a number of his Nashville buddies, both as co-writers (such as Dean Dillon, Mo Pitney, Mac Davis) and guest vocalists (Vince Gill, Bill Anderson, Bobby Bare, Hillary Williams and more).
Bobby obviously has a great respect for what’s known as ‘classic country’ but avoids wallowing in nostalgia for a musical past: his songs will appeal to fans of traditional country but, at the same time, they are firmly rooted in the here and now.
The eleven-song package kicks off with the (sort of) title track. “I’ve Run Out Of Road,” penned by Tomberlin, Dean Dillon & Mo Pitney, tells the story of a guy who’ll ‘never get her off my mind / shoulda never said goodbye.” He’s been running but he’s run out of road, a touching mid-tempo that sets the pace for the rest of the album.
Bobby co-wrote “The Grand Ole Opry” with J.P. Williams, and relates some of the historical moments in the life of the Mother Church of Country Music, told in the voice of the Opry itself. No doubt, it will get a standing ovation from the audience when performed on the Opry stage. The Opry is such a part of Bobby’s soul, I am not surprised with this wonderful “Heartfelt” tune, straight from his heart.
Spoiler alert: if you’re an aspiring songwriter you might not want to listen to “The Songwriter.” Ah, go ahead. Listen to it anyway. It’s the story of a young wannabe who drives into Nashville with a sack of songs and bumps into an older songwriter in a bar who tells him: “If I knew then what I know now / I’m sure I’d have never left home / You think you wanna be a songwriter like me / But you don’t.” It’s a wry take on a hit writer’s life, written by Tomberlin with Terry Faust and Bobby Bare, with a lament about all the money going to the IRS and ex-wives. No doubt a few songwriters in Music City know all about that.
“Looking for Audrey,” (Tomberlin, Linda Davis, Bill Whyte) imagines meeting Hank Williams Snr in a bar as the heartbroken singer tells how he regrets losing the love of his life, his wife Audrey. The gently wistful ballad is made all the more poignant by the addition of harmony vocals by Davis and Hilary Williams – Hank’s granddaughter.
Standout tracks in addition to “The Songwriter” and “Looking For Audrey:” “Wherever She Is,” a witty ‘good riddance’ ode to an ex, and “A Right Turn,” co-written with Sylvia Hutton, the final track and the perfect way to bring the album home.
# # #
CD Review by Preshias Harris for Country Music News International