As I see it, male country singers can follow one of two career trajectories: be a lone wolf outlaw type who purportedly does things his own way (think Travis Tritt, Waylon Jennings) or take the Kenney Chesney/Brad Paisley route and be the nicest son-of-a-pumpkin in the whole darned patch. Chance McKinney is a son-of-a-pumpkin.
On the 2010 album Be Real, the Lolo-bred singer and his band deliver a farmer's grip of modern country stylings filled with parties, populism, and prayer. Kicking it all off is the let the good times roll of "When Rednecks Get Together," a John Rich as sung by Jason Aldean-esque party jam which suits McKinney's talk-singing baritone perfectly. With cocksure winks and agreeable nudges he sings the lines "Fire up them big ol' barbeques / Tell them cows to watch their backs / Seven kegs with different kinds of brews / Blondes and brunettes on tap." Don't worry ladies and bears, I'm sure the 6' 6" vaquero has a sweet spot for raven and ginger hair, too.
While moving through the modern country pantheon—guilt, redemption, fatherhood, motherhood, parties, beach parties, pirates, the road, trains, American Dream, authenticity—McKinney manages an uncommonly predictable collection. If he's seeking Top 40, he's on the right track.
Chance McKinney n' Crosswire play the Wilma Tuesday, August 9, at 7:30 PM. $15.