Five years after his self-titled debut, Bucky Covington is set to release his sophomore album, Good Guys, on September 11. Like his sound and style, which offers a warm mixture of ’70s country paired with a contemporary radio-ready feel, the new project is a mixture of old and new.
In early 2010, Bucky was working on a follow-up record to be released that year. However, his label Lyric Street Records shut its doors and the album didn’t make it to stores. There are probably few things more frustrating for an artist, but on Good Guys, the former Top 10 American Idol contestant gets a chance to give many of those songs a second life.
Five of the twelve songs on Good Guys are available through Bucky’s I’m Alright-EP and REALity Country projects that Lyric Street Records released in those final days. Songs like the power ballad “I Want My Life Back,” the low-key, shuffling country tune “A Father’s Love (The Only Way He Knew How)” and the Nickelback cover “Gotta Be Somebody” were even released to radio as singles. Interestingly, the standout track “I’m Alright” wasn’t included in those earlier sets, but does have a chance to be heard now on Good Guys. Bucky offers his most personal delivery of the record on the southern rock-laced song, with his voice up front and intimate amidst acoustic guitars and emotional electric leads. Melodies bend around Bucky’s delicate voice as the bittersweet song offers hope after a hard breakup.
The light rasp and subtle twang in Bucky’s delivery feel right at home in Mark A. Miller and Dale Oliver’s loose-sounding production. Tracks aren’t processed to the point of no return, which allows songs like the Lionel Richie cover “Sail On” to carry a very comfortable feel. Supported with piano and acoustic guitars, Bucky navigates the melodies with a natural feel, calling out through the bridge, Sail on, honey, good times never felt so good, with a ’70s country groove. On the soulful “Hold A Woman,” he provides the soundtrack to a date night spent on the couch with the fireplace going as bluesy organ fills add to the atmosphere.
Shooter Jennings joins Bucky on “Drinking Side of Country,” one of the collection’s best songs. The tune, which Bucky co-wrote with his brother Rocky Covington and Ducky Medlock, feeds off an amped up Waylon-esque theme that transforms into an urgent, powerful chorus. Bucky and Shooter build off each other, singing out, We roll on down on the highway, as their outlaw characters make a getaway.
Bucky uses the uptempo, guitar-driven tracks to lean into his melodies. On “Mama Must Be Prayin’,” which races along like a sequel to the Garth Brooks classic “Ain’t Going Down (Till the Sun Comes Up),” Bucky’s quick delivery twists and turns through the fun-lovin’ song that finds redemption when, [his] truck broke down right in front of a church. On “I Always Said You’d Be Back,” he uses the verse to skillfully alternate between big calls and pulling back that engage the listener with every line.
On Good Guys, Bucky takes advantage of the opportunity to connect with fans and fill them in on what he’s been working on since his debut in 2007. With new songs like the radio-ready “I Wanna Be That Feeling” next to earlier offerings like the margarita-infused “Mexicoma,” Bucky has created a solid collection that serves as an important step for the young artist.
Key Tracks – “Drinking Side Of Country,” “I’m Alright,” “Sail On,” “Mama Must Be Prayin’”