Michael Stacey,
After the Storm
(self-produced, 2001)

Michael Stacey has produced a 12-track album which is easy on the ears, if a little bland overall. His country-pop sound leans slightly more toward the ballad than the beat, and he has a good voice well-suited to the songs, one his own, two of which he co-wrote. He plays acoustic guitar and is accompanied by a dozen other musicians and backing singers, who provide a rich and rounded sound to the album.

There are four particularly upbeat songs, both musically and lyrically -- the opening song, "Highway 41," "Easy Street" and "Life Is Good" -- and the title song closes the album on a positive note. "Reasonable Doubt," "Blue Tornado," "Nobody Hurt," "Okay," "Don't Fall in Love With Me Yet" and "I Have You" are all love songs of varying sentiments, the first two being particularly, perhaps even typically, slow and sad. "Too Late" and "That's All Behind Me Now" are more life-in-general subjects, similar to "After the Storm."

After the Storm has a well-produced, pleasant sound; it should appeal across the age groups to those who like undemanding listening, country style. If Garth Brooks made it big, perhaps Michael Stacey will one day find the same degree of success, and his website would indicate that he is touring and gathering fans. Although vocally, musically and lyrically, for me, his debut album blurs too quickly into sameness; not even one track really stands out or stays in my mind. Not bad, but not different or demanding enough to make me want to hear more.

- Rambles
written by Jenny Ivor
published 4 October 2003

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