Chase Tyler calls Baton Rouge home, and he identifies strongly with it; not for nothing does he work Garth Brooks’ “Callin’ Baton Rouge” into his shows. It’s that kind of fan service that has him and his eponymous band primed to move from regional to national new-country stardom. Chase is definitely from the post-Brooks school of country music thought—the songs he sings are half heritage and half lifestyle accessory—and while he didn’t write any of the ten songs on this, his second album, his voice is certainly up to putting them across: he’s nothing if not professional, bringing the same commitment to big breakup ballads like “Wash Me Away” and complicated relationship songs like “Just Like a Woman” as he does to up-tempo party jams like “I’ll Drink to That.”
Consistency isn’t a problem behind the mic, but on the page may be something else entirely: mixed in with the title track, a gorgeous panorama of what it’s like to live cheek-by-jowl with nature, is dreck like “Real Fine Bass,” too terrible a pun even for corporate radio. (You probably don’t want to ponder the metaphorical significance of a line like “I’ll give you all my minnows.”) Honestly, he’s better than this: “Good Place to Turn Around” is an excellent heartbreaker about what it’s like to find yourself on a one-way path to destruction: if you’ve ever been in the country for long, you know what it’s like to feel trapped on a narrow highway surrounded by nothing but swamp. He’s clearly swinging for the majors here with titles like “Between Me and God” and “Growin’ Up Down in Dixie,” but his real artistic redemption lies in an unlikely cover of Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic,” which adds twang without losing any of the original’s poetry. He probably didn’t have to quote Van’s original lyrics on the merch, but whatever. Fan service is what it is.