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What If?

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Album Review

Emerson Drive is contemporary country at its poppiest, a band that is country in name only, with a sound and sensibility much closer to the mellow Californian country-rock of the '70s or the slick MOR of the '80s than to Music City. After all, this is a band that, for its second album, 2004's What If?, has placed all its chits on producer Richard Marx, who is best known for his post-Eagles adult contemporary hits of the late '80s and is a pop craftsman, not a honky tonker. To country purists, this naturally means that Emerson Drive is not something to be taken seriously, and if you're looking for straight-ahead country, these guys don't deliver. But that doesn't mean they're bad. In fact, they're very, very good, a mainstream pop band with appealing tunefulness and a mild country flair. Marx is a perfect fit as producer, and brings out their strengths, whether it's their endearing everyguy persona or good harmonies, selecting a tight set of 14 songs (including four co-written by Marx) in the process. It's a modest album, yet it's also sturdy and well constructed, growing in stature after several plays. Above all, with What If? Emerson Drive proves to be reliable, delivering a record that may not progress far from the band's debut — it follows the same blueprint, only delving a little deeper into pop — but is certainly its equal in terms of quality, and is a solid second effort.

Customer Reviews


I totally don't agree with the album review. Emerson Drive is Country. And very good at it. The cover of "Fishin' In the Dark" I believe is much better than the original.

Awsome Vocals.

Lead singer BRAD has one of the best voices in country, and yes this is country, iTunes review of this group doesnt make sence. I hear they have a new record label, hopefully they will be pushed more, because like I said, Brad has an amazing voice. This is not my favorite cd, but I buy and support this underated group.

Emerson Drive is amazing!

I do not agree with this review at all. They are VERY country, I wouldn't be totally in love with them if they were at all pop. I have beeen a fan for 6 years and am so disappointed to see how underestimated these guys are! "What If?" is an amazing album, it has so much energy and the vocals and overall performance of all the guys is breathtaking! And a few of the songs were co-written by a couple of the members ("Waitin' On Me", "Still Got Yesterday", "If You Were My Girl"), which makes the album even better! I would say DO NOT go by that review, these guys are amazing, this album is awsome and whoever listens to it, will most likely be amazed!


Formed: Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada

Genre: Country

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

Emerson Drive began in the western Alberta town of Grand Prairie, where singer Brad Mates, bassist Jeff Loberg, fiddler Pat Allingham, and keyboardist Chris Hartman began honing their sound as high-school talent-show competitors. After everyone came on board, they chose the name 12 Gauge, refurbished a rickety old school bus, and began gigging throughout Canada. Eventually guitarist Danick Dupelle and drummer Mike Melocon joined up, and new manager Gerry Leiske sent the young sextet out on the road...
Full Bio
What If?, Emerson Drive
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Customer Ratings