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Double-Wide Dream

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Album Review

After several years of increasing prominence as a Southwest regional group, the Casey Donahew Band broke into the Billboard Country Albums chart with their 2009 album, Moving On. On Double-Wide Dream, Donahew and his compatriots bid to further their inroads into national popularity (and country radio airplay) by presenting a series of midtempo country-pop tunes with romantic lyrics aimed at a female demographic. They deviate from that formula a couple of times, revving themselves up in mid-disc for the rocker "One Star Flag" and ending the collection with the humorous "White Trash Story — II (The Deuce)" (with its chorus, "I'm still first-class white trash, if you can't tell"), as Donahew descends into redneck vernacular and employs a four-letter word beginning with the letter S. But elsewhere, he dials back on the Gretchen Wilson-like celebration of the lower-class Southern lifestyle, or at least gives it a rosy ambience, notably on the title song, in which trailer-park domesticity is seen as an ideal. "Give You a Ring" is another paean to settled, married life, but Donahew actually spends more time reflecting on a romance that went bad, blaming himself, and hoping that somehow things can be made right. That's the theme of "Running Through My Head," "Regrets" ("I wish I would've begged you to stay/But I just walked away"), and "I'd Give Anything," while "Let's Not Say Goodbye Again" finds the singer thankfully reconciled with his previously estranged lover and grateful for it. Donahew sings these sentiments in a sincere tone over tight arrangements in which his twang and the fiddle give the edge to country over pop. His songs lack the striking details and plot twists typical of professional Nashville songwriting, which makes them both more generic and seemingly more authentic. Most of them also seem radio-ready, while the few raucous rockers promise that his shows will have lively moments to balance the torch songs.

Double-Wide Dream, Casey Donahew Band
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