Album reviews

Josh Kelley

"Georgia Clay''

By Stuart Munro
Globe Correspondent / March 22, 2011

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After eight years as a pop singer, Josh Kelley has gone country. Whatever his motives (personal growth and introspection that led him to “an authentic and undeniable country sound,’’ as the press materials for “Georgia Clay’’ posit? A moribund pop career and the ascending star of Kelley’s brother Charles, who is a member of country-pop group Lady Antebellum?), “going country’’ turns out to be a very short walk from the adult contemporary world where he’s been residing. Witness sensitive fare like “Baby Blue Eyes’’ and treacly pop balladry like “Learning You,’’ or the soaring bombast of album closer “Don’t You Go,’’ or “Two Cups of Coffee,’’ which could pass for a Hootie & the Blowfish outtake. Add a little steel guitar (“Georgia Clay’’), flecks of dobro (“Naleigh Moon’’), and some driving fiddle lines (“Great Idea’’), and the songs slide inside the confines of contemporary mainstream country. The music is well-crafted, and Kelley a more than passable singer, with a voice that breaks or gets a bit husky in all the right places. But there isn’t anything that makes him stand out from other inhabitants of Music City’s sensitive-guy subdivision. (Out today)

ESSENTIAL “Gone Like That’’