Already into his second album before most kids are into their second molars, Billy Gilman is now a seasoned veteran.

Already into his second album before most kids are into their second molars, Billy Gilman is now a seasoned veteran. With Dare to Dream, however, he sounds more like a rookie Jo Dee Messina than the second coming of Johnny Cash, with pep, pop, sugar, and very little spice. The cliché-ridden "She's My Girl" is downright sticky, "Our First Kiss" has about all the soul a preteen can muster, and the ballad "I've Got to Make It to Summer" recalls "Puppy Love"-era Donny Osmond. Gilman shifts into world-weary-observer mode with the maudlin "My Time on Earth" and waxes Cab Calloway on the bluesy "Shamey, Shamey, Shame." The quasi-funky "She's Everything You Want" should go over big at the skating rink. Gilman's big-time pipes and personality can't help but impress, and producers Cook and Chancey make it all sound just great. The songs are mostly age-appropriate—whether it's country radio-appropriate is for all those consultants to decide.—RW

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