12 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

There’s always room in country music for a burly-voiced Southern boy who knows how to treat a woman right and Jeff Bates handles the part with ease on Leave the Light On. Comparisons with fellow Mississippi native Conway Twitty are unavoidable here — the same tender baritone bravura that made Twitty a legend is present in Bates’ chasm-deep style. With a smooth drawl and a sure touch, he turns “Long, Slow Kisses” and the title track into convincing bedroom ballads. Jeff knows how to have fun with his persona as well, batting about double entendres in “Hands On Man” and a steamy remake of Billy “Crash” Craddock’s 1974 hit “Rub It In.” He’s even better when he flashes his ornery side on the sly “That’ll Get You Ten.” Bates pulls off archly sentimental stuff like “Mama Was a Lot Like Jesus” (it’s better than its title, honest!) with a measure at dignity. Worth special praise is “One Second Chance,” a sensitive account of an ex-con’s struggles that touches upon Bates’ own youthful encounters with the law. Leave the Light On shows Bates moving beyond his ladies’ man role without unduly roughing up his image.

EDITORS’ NOTES

There’s always room in country music for a burly-voiced Southern boy who knows how to treat a woman right and Jeff Bates handles the part with ease on Leave the Light On. Comparisons with fellow Mississippi native Conway Twitty are unavoidable here — the same tender baritone bravura that made Twitty a legend is present in Bates’ chasm-deep style. With a smooth drawl and a sure touch, he turns “Long, Slow Kisses” and the title track into convincing bedroom ballads. Jeff knows how to have fun with his persona as well, batting about double entendres in “Hands On Man” and a steamy remake of Billy “Crash” Craddock’s 1974 hit “Rub It In.” He’s even better when he flashes his ornery side on the sly “That’ll Get You Ten.” Bates pulls off archly sentimental stuff like “Mama Was a Lot Like Jesus” (it’s better than its title, honest!) with a measure at dignity. Worth special praise is “One Second Chance,” a sensitive account of an ex-con’s struggles that touches upon Bates’ own youthful encounters with the law. Leave the Light On shows Bates moving beyond his ladies’ man role without unduly roughing up his image.

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