Sammy Kershaw is about to celebrate the silver anniversary of his very first hit at Country Radio, “Cadillac Style.” Since then, the singer has given the format some of its’ best moments, ranging from the traditional strains of “Yard Sale” to the uptempo favorite “National Working Women’s Holiday.” And, he keeps creating new music.
His last album, Do You Know Me: A Tribute To George Jones, was his most successful album in well over a decade, proving that fans are still hungry for his brand of old-school Country Music. The singer has now come back with his first studio release of new material in five years, and to say he sounds better than ever is nothing short of an understatement.
Whether it be the seasoned lyrics of “I Had To Give That Up Too” or the humor of “Send In The Rodeo Clowns,” Kershaw is sounding better than ever these days. Lead single “Grillin and Chillin” is the perfect sound for the summer months, and he offers just the right touch on his cover of R.B. Greaves’ 1969 classic “Take A Letter Maria.”
The other cover on the album might surprise you. The title cut was a huge rock hit for Tom Petty in 1989, and I have to admit that the choice of Kershaw to record it seemed a little odd to me. However, listen to the song, and you will find that he knocks it out of the ballpark. He has survived many ups and downs over the years (which he will document in a fall autobiography), and he delivers the lyrics with authority.
Also worth noting are a pair of love songs that would make Conway Twitty proud. “Lay Back Down” and “Let’s Lay Here Forever” are filled with emotion, power, and a romantic side that just might surprise many of his fans. Whether I Won’t Back Down is Sammy Kershaw’s best album of all time is debatable, as he’s recorded some great ones over the years, but it definitely shows there’s a lot of fire in him as he starts the next 25 years!