A country artist's first album often doesn't impress – but Thomas Rhett is an exception. The son of Rhett Akins, this singer seems to have inherited some serious songwriting skills too.
According to his website, the younger Rhett looked at a number of other career paths before settling on music. In 2010, he signed a songwriting deal, and soon had huge co-written cuts by Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, and Lee Brice.
And that seemed to pave the way for a successful solo gig – two songs from his self-titled EP broke the top 30 of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. And just last month, he released It Goes Like This.
Rhett seems like a classy, fun-loving guy who's up for anything. In Sorry For Partyin', he offers a sarcastic apology for disrupting the neighbourhood. "It started when a couple friends and some dude in a cardigan came rolling in at 3 a.m."
Something To Do With My Hands is super rock-driven and high-energy for country. Maybe that's explained by Rhett's drumming in a punk-rock band during junior high. "So maybe I could could stick 'em in your pockets/Run 'em through your hair and we can get to rockin'."
Rhett brings a hip-hop groove to the otherwise redneck Front Porch Junkies. The gang echoes and effects on Rhett's voice make this song truly original, and it'll be stuck in your head for the rest of the week. "We're just sippin' moonshine watchin' chicken fry/Making that swing swing side-to-side." It's hard to believe everything was recorded in a home studio basement.
If you listen to country radio, you've probably hear the title track – a great tune, to be sure. But even better is Take You Home, a cute rock ballad about Rhett picking up a girl whose boyfriend ignores her at a party. "I know he brought you here and he left you alone/But he ain't worth the time you're spending text him on the phone." And the synthesizer and steel guitar in the chorus don't even clash!
Still, my absolute favourite is Beer With Jesus. Rhett steps back from the romantic themes and asks some tough spiritual questions. "I'd tell everyone, but no one would believe it/If I could have a beer with Jesus." This one really hits me in the gut.
In many ways, Rhett is doing the same things right as Florida Georgia Line. First, the strong and interactive social media presence. He manages to mash country with his personal influences so seamlessly, it's just plain good music. As a country fan who enjoys other genres, I LOVE it.
Country Luke's Rating: 9/10
Photo courtesy of facebook.com/thomasrhettmusic