I Am Ready

Despite his recent Country Music Association award (for Vocal Event of the Year, with the New Nashville Cats), Steve Wariner is one of Nashville’s least recognized successes, mostly because his seamless brand of country-pop wears a kind of bland gentility. In other words, the majority of Wariner’s sweet-sad songs about lost opportunity forego front-page passion for little nuggets of long-term longing. That pattern continues on I Am Ready, with the ballads ”Leave Him Out of This,” a love triangle with a ghostly twist, and the MOR ballad ”Like a River to the Sea.” But if Wariner lacks a zippy repertoire, he nearly makes up for it with believable readings and deft vocal shadings — his creamy tenor audibly caresses a lyric. There’s probably a great album in him somewhere, but for the meantime, this one’s just likably low-key. B-

I Am Ready
  • Music