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Can You Hear Me Now

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Album Review

Sawyer Brown has never made any apologies for being a pop-oriented country-rock band, and throughout their career, they've often traded on the sounds and styles of the time to keep them sounding contemporary. Still, it's a little strange seeing frontman going post-Matchbox Twenty with his looks — all adult-alternative pop, complete with short goatee and a photo in the liner notes where he looks startlingly like R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe. These visuals are a slight clue to where the band is going with Can You Hear Me Now, their first album of new material in three years. Though there are some twangy guitars here and there, along with a few up-tempo shuffles, this is more a pop album than a country album, aimed at the audience that listens as much to adult-oriented mainstream pop (like Matchbox Twenty) and contemporary, post-Shania and Faith Hill country. Some might carp about this, but they're likely to be those who never listen to Sawyer Brown in the first place, since the band has always been a bit like this and they've always done this pretty well, and Can You Hear Me is no exception. This does adopt contemporary mores, but in a professional, engaging way, and while not all of the ten songs are strong, there are certainly more hits than misses. It's a solid effort, not just for Sawyer Brown, but as contemporary crossover country-pop albums go.

Biography

Formed: 1981 in Apopka, FL

Genre: Country

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of those rare acts who actually became stars directly from winning Star Search, country-rockers Sawyer Brown wound up enjoying a long, hit-filled career and remained commercially viable into the new millennium. The group originally grew out of country-pop singer Don King's touring band, with guitarist Bobby Randall and drummer Joe Smyth signing on in 1979, and bassist Jim Scholten, keyboardist Gregg "Hobie" Hubbard, and guitarist/future lead singer Mark Miller all arriving in 1980. King stopped...
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Can You Hear Me Now, Sawyer Brown
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