Picks and Pans Review: Born and Raised in Black & White
This self-styled hillbilly singer may have more in common with the so-called Nashville cowboys—Clint, Alan, Garth—than he would care to admit. The hatless Collie has a knack for turning heartache, hangovers and heroes into hits.
On his second album, the native Tennessean teams again with some of Nashville's sharper songwriters. Among them is popular country and western DJ Gerry House, with whom Collie penned the chart-climbing opening track "She's Never Comin' Back." At times Collie sounds like he has more in common with John Mellencamp than with hillbilly greats Hank Snow or Jimmie Rodgers. This is especially true of the title cut, with its sturdy rock beat and high-blown lyrics.
Several other songs, though, catch the hill country essence that Collie is after and distill it into moonshine. Curiously, the song that best shows off Collie's Tennessee twang and hillbilly guitar is the Texas swing number "Lucky Dog." But as Collie himself says, his musical roots are "like the roots of a tree. They go a long way in every direction." (MCA)