Aaron Tippin
Read Between The Lines

Music City News

Aaron Tippin is clearly not the sort to get the sophomore jitters. After the praise that was justifiably heaped on his debut, a good case of the butterflies would be understandable. But the singer's follow-up goes a step further with his raw, emotional lyrics and authentic hillbilly delivery. Whether he is singing the blues on such numbers like These Sweet Dreams and If I Had To Do It All Over, or raving upon such fast-paced, boot shufflers as There Ain't Nothin' Wrong With The Radio, Tippin infuses his music with fire and feeling.

(RCA 61129-2)

Music City News
March 1992

Entertainment Weekly

During the gulf war, newcomer Aaron Tippin made a splash with his debut single, You've Got To Stand For Something, which struck a chord in a nation hopped up on patriotism. After that, his profile dropped as low as a casualty of war's. Too bad. Although he may sound like an impossible hayseed -- Tippin's thick South Carolina accent renders "can't" as "cain't" -- he's one of the most intelligent of Nashville's new singer-songwriters. On his newly released second album -- with There Ain't Nothin' Wrong With The Radio, an unabashed love song about a jalopy, and My Blue Angel, where he emits a high-pitched howl of pain -- Tippin has crafted songs of wit and woe with bull's-eye directness, and he delivers them with a melodic verve that harkens back to the honky-tonk styles of the '50s. He also knows a thing or two about sexual truths, describing them with the passion of a voyeur. When Tippin details his nights of anguish over a lost love in These Sweet Dreams, you can almost see the sweat stains on the sheets. A

(RCA 61129-2)

Alanna Nash
Entertainment Weekly #109
13 March 1992


Tippin's no-frills country style served him well on his first outing, You've Got To Stand For Something, and works to better effect on this follow-up. Replacing some of the rough edges evident on that first album is a new vocal maturity. Tippin's nasal, high-pitched voice sounds fuller and more resonant.

This change is most obvious on the melancholic ballad These Sweet Dreams, cowritten with Butch Curry, which has the feel of a classic. This Heart also benefits from Tippin's increased ability to invest his lyrics with tenderness. He still may enjoy telling the world what a tough hombre he is, as in I Wouldn't have It Any Other Way, but there's another side to him that can sing just as convincing about pain and regret, as he does on If I Had It To Do Over.

My Blue Angel lets this South Carolinian work his yodel to the hilt. Also invested with back-hill twang is I Was Born With A Broken Heart, which Tippin wrote with Jim McBride when Tippin was still, as he puts it, a Nashville "greenhorn."

On The Sound of Your Goodbye (Sticks and Stones), a six-string bass enhances a so-so song. Recalling You've Gor To Stand For Something is the bouncy There Ain't Nothin' Wrong with The Radio, which refers to Tippin's clunker of a car, Daisy.

Second albums, like second novels, often disappoint fans set up by a successful debut. Read Between The Lines doesn't suffer by comparison, it surpasses. (BMG)

(RCA 61129-2)

Lisa Shea
13 April 1992

Country Music

When Aaron Tippin first burst upon the scene in 1990 with the anthem, You've Got To Stand For Something (from the album of the same name), he was hailed by many critics as sort of second coming of Hank Williams -- an unvarnished singer/songwriter making gutbucket hillbilly music. In some ways that was true -- his raw vocals, occasional yodels and simple, unadorned themes harked back to the 50's -- but with heavy drum beats and goosed-up guitars mixed heavily alongside the fiddle and steel, there was no mistaking that Tippin's was country music for the 90's. Perhaps we could call him a "new traditionalist." Whatever you call him, his debut was a fine effort -- just plain good music (even after the flag-waving politicos picked up on Stand For Something at the height of the Gulf War).

Now Tippin's back with his second album and "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" seems to apply. Emory Gordy Jr. takes the reins as producer once again; Tippin co-wrote all ten songs here (nine songs on cassette), as he did on his debut; and like the first album, there ae some fine ballads, some great-sounding, up-tempo grabbers, an anthem and a couple of throw-away novelties. Foremost among the latter group is the first single, Ain't Nothin' Wrong With The Radio, a meaningless-but-catchy song about a beat-up old truck that seems nothing more than a backdrop for a video (references to blasting the radio, run-ins with the police, cruising with beauty queens, etc.,etc.). The other is the CD-only extra track, I Miss Misbehavin'.

Then there's the anthem. Here it's I Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way. While Stand For Something worked, this one doesn't, at all. It's a preachy and cliche-ridden ode to being a rebel -- try not to barf, but be your own man and stick to your guns are more than themes here, they're actual lines to the song!

Most everything else works, and a couple of songs even have the worth-the-price-of-the-album quality: The Sound Of Your Goodbye and These Sweet Dreams. The Sound Of Your Goodbye features some find guitar work, original lyrics and a sure-fire-hit sound. These Sweet Dreams, written by Tippin and Butch Curry is a hauntingly beautiful, Jones-like ballad about lost love that cuts right to the heart. I Was Born With A Broken Heart, a fine tune co-written by Tippin and Jim McBride that was a minor hit for Josh Logan in 1989, follows the same theme but is more up-tempo. Tippin turns in a good performance here, though the song seems more suited to Logan's Vern Gosdin-like delivery of the lyric.

Another high point is the anguished ballad, If I Had It To Do Over, in which Aaron gives one of his strongest vocal performances. The pain and loss come pouring out in this lament that's crossed every mind at one time or another.

On the whole, Read Between The Lines almost matches the quality of his debut, and Tippin seems to be setting himself up for the long haul. And that's good -- as long as there's an Aaron Tippin, a Marty Brown or a Jann Browne to keep the raw edge in country vocals, we won't have to lament the loss of another piece of country music's identity.

(RCA 61129-2)

George Fletcher
Country Music
May/June 1992

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