I spent the better part of this past week listening to Parker Willimgham. He has a new album set to release on July 7. It’s called “You Get Me Every Time” This was one of the few albums I really had to listen to many times before I was ready to start writing a review.
Every song was easy to listen to. Every song was about life – Parker’s life experiences, I’m guessing. Every song told us a story. And, while Parker (by his own admission), does not write songs to “fit a genre mold”, I think he found one with this CD. That genre is what we call “Today’s Country”.
Nothing on the album drops into the field we now consider ‘country classics’ or ‘traditional country’. But, it is certainly everything our Top 40 country stations are playing today. While the music definitely belongs on our country music play lists today, that doesn’t mean Parker sounds like everyone you are already hearing. The vocals are uniquely “Parker”. With a wide variety of artists who have had some kind of influence in Parker’s life (Bon Jovi, James Bay, Eagles, Skynyrd, Styx, George Strait and Garth Brooks), he has managed to make his own kind of music, without sounding as if he is trying to imitate the artists he appreciates.
The Niceville, Fla., native grew up as one of three children, with an older and a younger sister. With parents who enjoyed the music of the Eagles and Queen, and sisters who liked Celine Dion, Parker said he grew up with an appreciation for music of all genres. “I can belt out “Turn Back Time” and “My Heart Will go On” as comfortably as I can rock a tune or a country ditty on stage at a downtown Nashville honkytonk,” Parker said.
Fans will get a good look at Parker’s writing ability, with eight of the 11 tracks being written or co-written by this very talented newcomer. Recording for Apple Row Music Group-Apple Row Records, Parker’s first CD is more than a good start on what we believe will be a very successful future.
One of my favorite things about this album is that Parker has something to release next! A single, I mean. There are so many good songs on this album, that he doesn’t have to worry about which one he is going to ship to radio next. The first release was the title track, “You Get Me Every Time”, an up-tempo love song, with some pretty awesome guitar and great back-up vocals. It’s good, but it’s not my favorite song on the album. This is one Parker co-wrote, along with Kate Hart and Paula Hallmark.
The second song is “Flipside”, written by Parker. When I first listened to this one, I thought it would be my favorite on the album. It was the one I wanted to sing along with. But that, “this will be my favorite song’ thought didn’t last long. I pretty much felt that way about “Chase Her Dreams”, too. Parker also co-wrote this one, along with Kate Hart and Paula Hallmark, and that trio was joined by Robby Walton. This song tells a story that most of us probably lived. Back in our younger days, when we were trying to decide whether committing to responsibility is more important than committing to love. This mid-tempo ballad is really thought provoking.
“It’s Hard to Say”, is another one written by Parker, Kate, Paula and Robby. It’s obvious that these four work well together as a songwriting team. This one is another love song, If you are like me, this one will probably bring an old flame to mind. It’s a good song for just sitting back, putting your feet up, and remembering.
I liked what Parker said about the song, “Me Loving You” (written by Nial Goodridge Hay and Trent Willman.
“I took a real liking to Nial’s writing and loved this song. I really like the storyline, that no matter where you are..I’m right there with you. My favorite lyric: ‘Even Out there in that sea of Marilyn Monroe wannabes, I bet you killed ‘em with those Audrey Hepburn eyes’,” Parker said. This one instantly hit me as ‘radio-ready’.
There isn’t much to say about “One Kiss at a Time”. Written by John Christopher Bandi and Joel Eric Shewmake, this is a mid-tempo song about friends – friends who seem to be struggling with broken hearts, and they end together to share what they are going through. If this song has anything in common with the other 10 songs on the album, it would be that it is good, too!
“Hot Like Me” is a duet featuring Grace Goyer. this one was also written by Parker, Paula, Kate and Robby. Great vocals from Grace add to the good story, and a melody that almost reminded me of something I might have heard back in the 60’s folk music era. Parker said that it wasn’t originally meant to be a duet, “but, when I heard Grace’s vocals, they fit like a glove!”
Kate and Parker teamed up to write “Raining Down”, a semi-rock ballad that really shows off that southern grit and rasp in Parker’s vocals When bad memories come raining down, it’s not a fun time for anyone.
“All Over You” is another one Parker wrote on his own. When you blend jazz, blues, piano and guitar solos – you get this. Everything going on in this song will make you think about summer, running into someone attractive, and wanting to meet up and hang out.
Parker tells us he wrote the song “Cold Creek” when he was just 18. “It’s a map of my life and the place I grew up,” he said. With some great guitar tossed in with lyrics about his carefree, rugged Florida roots, this was othe one I thought was the “fun song’ on the album. It’s the fastest one, the toe-tapper in the group.
“We Got it Alright” closes out the album. It was written by Nial Goodridge Hay and Justin Holland. It’s a Cinderella story. About meeting someone for a one-night stand, and having it grow into lifetime relationship. You can’t help love when good lyrics and good music produce this kind of good song.
There’s the review, the rest is up to you! You can pre-order this great new album now at iTunes. In addition to Parker’s website, visit his Facebook page. And, please remember to “Like” it while you are there. Follow him on Twitter @PJHam1. If you’re not already following Country’s Chatter on Twitter, we’d love to have you. You will find us @countryschatter.
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