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We're All Somebody From Somewhere

B+
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July 26, 2016 at 03:28 PM EDT

“Going country” can be tricky business for a mainstream star, the kind of move typically pegged as musical carpetbagging at best—a game for silly tourists who try on twang like it’s a ­ten-gallon hat at the Nashville airport gift shop—or at worst pure opportunism. So it’s a neat surprise that Steven Tyler’s swerve into the genre comes off as organic as it does, less like a borrowed costume than a slide into something comfortably worn.

It helps that he doesn’t OD on the banjo-and-moonshine signifiers, and that his unmistakable voice, all sandpaper and weather, already sounds made for songs like these. There are achy, bitter­sweet ballads (“My Own Worst Enemy,” “It Ain’t Easy”), roadhouse rambles (“The Good, the Bad, the Ugly & Me,” “Sweet Louisiana”), and one blues-rock stomper, “Hold On (Won’t Let Go),” whose spirit animal is clearly the Black Keys. Covers of “Piece of My Heart” and Aero­smith’s own “Janie’s Got a Gun” feel more fond than fundamental, but as a sonic experiment Somebody suits this Boston boy: He’s not trespassing, just taking a Southern detour. B+

We're All Somebody From Somewhere

2016 album
type
Music
Genre
Performer
release date
07/15/16
music label
Dot Records
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We're All Somebody From Somewhere

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