Blame it On the Whiskey (Ludlow Music)
Denny Wheatley

Kevin Gibson

Doing his best Willie Nelson-meets-Alan Jackson impression, local singer-songwriter Denny Wheatley knows him some honky tonk.

From the get-go, Wheatley gets his redneck country on with the album’s title track, “Blame it On the Whiskey.” What Wheatley brings to the table is a strong vocal delivery that could stand up to any modern crooner. He exhibits this on “The Faker,” which harkens vaguely to the old days of Ferlin Husky.

Another strength of this collection is the crisp recording quality and the thick layers of harmonica, steel guitar, Dobro, mandolin and more. Wheatley assembled a talented supporting cast, from Jim Lenz to Ed Hysinger and Bob McLendon, all of whom keep the album humming along while still showcasing Wheatley’s vocal style.

The album’s subtitle is “Lovin’, Leavin’, Drinkin’ Songs (and One for Mom)”, and Wheatley doesn’t disappoint. The piano strains in “Mother’s Lullaby” add a gentleness to his reminisces about his mother singing “Goodnight Irene” when he was a child.

For the most part, this is just straight-ahead folksy country. In that way it sometimes fails to distinguish itself, but Wheatley is at his best when things are moving at a nice pace. An example is the sweet “Nobody Loves You Like I Do,” a swinging mid-tempo dancer with some nice vocal harmonies and some beautiful fiddle playing.

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