With noted singer/songwriter Billy Yates' collection of 10 self-penned cuts on his own M.O.D.

With noted singer/songwriter Billy Yates' collection of 10 self-penned cuts on his own M.O.D. imprint, it's easy to see why singers ranging from George Jones to Sara Evans are drawn to his material. The fiddle-laced uptempo "Too Country and Proud of It" is just that, and the piano-based optimism of "A Better Place" is passionately delivered. A soulful vocalist, Yates is also expressive and as country as grits, whether note-bending on the barroom lament "In the Light of Day," or standing tall in the face of regret on killer ballads like "You'll Never See Me Crawl" and the title cut. Acoustic edge propels the soaring "As the Crow Flies," and when Yates weighs in on honky-tonk heroes past on the smoky "They Don't Makes Us Like They Used To," we're inclined to agree. While plenty of artists currently in favor at radio could make hits of what's offered here, none could handle the task better than Yates himself. For more info, log on to Billyyates.com.—RW