Georgia Clay

Georgia Clay

It took seven studio albums for Josh Kelley to birth Georgia Clay, a return to his Southern roots (he’s from Augusta, Ga., and graduated from the University of Mississippi). But it could have been the success of his brother Charles’ band, Lady Antebellum, that inspired him to cowrite these twangy tunes with some of Nashville’s best “napkin scribblers.” Either way, Kelley wears these songs like an old broken-in pair of boots. The title track sets the tone nostalgically, with autobiographical lyrics and a catchy chorus. “Rainin’ Whiskey” flirts with old-school honky-tonk trimmings to make for a fun little party ditty that doesn’t try too hard to come off tough, like so many similar songs of this flavor. It’s just a regular guy’s drinking song, and it works—especially with A-list studio guns like pedal steel guru Gary Morse and drummer Chris McHugh (whose skills on the skins have driven songs by Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, and Rascal Flatts, to name a few). “Learning You” is a soulful standout that steams things up with a post–closing time scenario.

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