Not All Its Cracked Up To Be (Music Man Records)
Dan McGrew

By Michael W. Stout

Dan McGrew's Not All It's Cracked Up To Be is a hard-core honky-tonkin' record full of livin', lovin', leavin', drinkin', and smokin' and the listener should be warned that it is not an album for the lighthearted.

This collection of eight classic country style tunes is a combination of Willie Nelson and Alan Jackson rolled into one, sounding as if it were conceived behind the swinging doors of an old western movie saloon. Miss Kitty could very well have been one of the loves and losses sung about here.

Four of the tunes offered were penned by McGrew himself, two of the best being the title track and "Her Memory Keeps Haunting Me." Also included are decent remakes of Willie Nelson's "Funny How Time Slips Away" and Marty Robbins' "Cigarette And Coffee Blues"

McGrew's vocals are somewhat rough, but are perfect for drowning out an old bar room brawl with cowboys sailing down the bar and quick-draws between shiny six-shooters. McGrew is backed by some remarkable steel guitar playing which helps this less-than-perfect, yet enjoyable album.

Not All It's Cracked Up To Be is a three and a half on a six-shooter scale, but it's definitely worth a listen. Pull up a stool for a shot of this one; you just might ask for a second round.