Shane Clouse 

Good Thing Going On

It's sort of incredible that Shane Clouse isn't hitting top country charts from the comfort of a Nashville studio. It's not that he fits the pop country profile of Keith Urban or Easton Corbin exactly; he definitely has songs with more depth than a lot of those commercial monkeys. At the same time, he knows his hooks, themes and country punch lines well enough to court mainstream listeners while simultaneously standing out from what otherwise seems to be a steaming pile of empty cowpoke treacle. And he writes his own songs, many in collaboration, which is a rare thing in the country world these days.

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What I love about Good Thing Going On is that Clouse has fun with original details, even while playing with hackneyed country themes. "Leaving Georgia" is about leaving a cheating woman named Georgia, who sits pigeon-toed on the porch smoking cigarettes waiting for him to come home. "Loving Life" celebrates drinking beer and whiskey all day long. Outlaw songs evoking Merle Haggard and loping western tunes evoking Marty Robbins give the album enough style cred that even in "Stomping Ground," when he sings well-done lines like, "Girls are hot and the beer is cold," it's easy to let it slide.

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