Captured Moments

Journey (Kinkajou Records)
Alan Rhody

By Kevin Gibson

What can one say about Alan Rhody that hasn't already been said? With his latest disc, Rhody, a Louisville native who has gone on to make a name in Nashville, returns with - surprise, surprise - another solid collection of introspective and emotional folk-country songs. This time he has John Prine, the late John Hartford and Maura O'Connell lending their talents as well, which only serves to strengthen this set.

One thing that bears repeating is that Rhody's music is real. With Rhody, it's all about the song, so there's nothing fabricated or gratuitously fancy to divert your attention from the meat and potatoes of the music. Rhody's soothing voice stands on its own, as does his delicate lyrics and gentle arrangements.

Rhody, whose songs have been recorded By Ricky Van Shelton, Lee Greenwood, Toby Keith, Tanya Tucker and more, excels at writing songs about the macro, such as in "Real Big Country" ("It's a real big country/With a lot of little towns"), as well as in writing about the micro, whether describing the ultimate woman in "Stronger Too" or the difficult war-related family tension in "I Love You Anyway Uncle John."

Rhody is also quite adept at writing mood songs, tunes that might simply describe the feeling of a breeze or a familiar sound or moment in time, as in "Goodbye Kiss." Truly, some of the best songwriting is about topics similarly microscopic, and Rhody just happens to be one of the best at capturing those moments, feelings, smells, tears - whatever - in a four-minute song.

With Journey, Rhody only strengthens my assertion that the best music never makes it to commercial radio, especially where Nashville is concerned. I feel like I should thank him for reminding me of that one more time.