Todd Fritsch,
Todd Fritsch
(Diamond, 2005)

Before I dive in to reviewing the self-titled CD released by country artist Todd Fritsch, let me point out that even though I live in Texas, I only acquire a handful of country CDs in a year. I went through a big country kick in the mid-'90s, but the novelty soon wore off. Consequently, I'm very picky about the country CDs I play now. This CD has made it in to my music rotation after the first listen.

The first song, "I Got Mexico," prods you to two-step your way across the border for a little vacation. This song mixes some faster-paced country with some Mexican melodies. The song is about a guy who is tired of his job, his life, his girl. When he hits his breaking point, he heads south. As Todd croons in the chorus: "I'm eating right and I'm living good / Doing everything I said I would / I lost you a long time ago / He's got you, I've got Mexico."

The one song on the album I can never sing along with is "You Know I Would." It isn't that this song is bad. In fact, it is my favorite track on the CD. The problem is this country ballad chokes me up every time I hear it. I'm not sure how much is due to Todd's singing and how much is due to the fiddle, which practically begs the listener to tear up. Lines like "If you find you need a friend to hold you in your darkest hour you know I would you know I would" have a way of touching your soul. I would think most folks would relate to the many sentiments placed in this track.

As much as "You Know I Would" is a sad tune, "Friends Behind Bars" can only bring a smile to your face. As is common in fun country music are those songs that play with words. The friends mentioned in this track aren't in jail. "Well there's Johnny Walker he's a real smooth talker and he's always straight with me / Old Jim Beam he's a little bit mean but we never disagree / Sweet Margarita she knows how to treat a man that's gone too far / Here's to all my friends behind bars."

Fritsch not only sings, but he penned a couple of tracks on this CD. He also has a really decent backup band. Doug Deforest is on bass and upright bass. Robby Springfield handles guitar, steel guitar and gut string. My hat is off to Tim Crouch for his mastery of the acoustic guitar, mandolin and fiddle. Mike Kennedy can be found on drums and percussion. Allen Huff tickles the ivory on the piano and accordion. Andrew Frye and R.P. Harrell also play piano on one track each. Backup vocalists include Doug Deforest, Kim Parent, Rick West and Amy Driesel.

One of my favorite singers during my year or so as a dedicated country listener was Clay Walker. That is who Todd Fritsch reminds me of when I put this CD in the player. For me to make that comparison is high praise indeed.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Wil Owen

8 September 2007

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