Twenty Years and Change

Twenty Years and Change

Country balladeer Collin Raye’s yearning tenor was a mainstay of country radio in the ‘90s. His presence on the charts declined in the new century — but as 2005’s Twenty Years and Change shows, the Arkansas-born singer still has a way with a warm-hearted tune. Much of the material on this album serves him well, especially idealistic declarations like “I Know That’s Right” and positive anthems like “The Search Is Over.” He brings a genial air to the galloping “Hurricane Jane” (“she’s a perfect storm!”) and a Caribbean-accented remake of the Bellamy Brothers’ “Let Your Love Flow.” Raye handles a moody story-song like the title track with a sense of drama, and the folk-tinged number like “Josephine” is an evocative historical narrative. Also worth noting is his slightly desperate cover of Conway Twitty’s “It’s Only Make Believe.” Twenty Years and Change mostly adheres to Raye’s familiar formula, but for those with a taste for his mellow yet passionate style, that’s not a bad thing at all.

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