Deryl Dodd's re-emergence on Sony imprint Lucky Dog comes after the artist's successful battle with encephalitis.

Deryl Dodd's re-emergence on Sony imprint Lucky Dog comes after the artist's successful battle with encephalitis. He's showing no ill effects here, showcasing a clear, strong tenor, keen songwriter instincts, and choice covers. The title cut is a good-time honky-tonker, and "She'll Have You Back" is a killer classic country weeper that benefits from its live setting. Dodd resurrects the Tom T. Hall standard "That's How I Got to Memphis" and Gordon Lightfoot's "Sundown" to great effect and nails such ballads as "One Ride in Vegas" and Jamie Hartford's sweeping "Good Things Happen." He cranks things up a notch on "Honky Tonk Champagne" and the twangy "On Earth As It Is in Texas," and he moans the blues with authority on "Cows." Later, Dodd sings "What Some Call a Weakness" and "A Bitter End" with passion, and throughout he seems to approach this project with a renewed sense of purpose.—RW

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