George Ducas "4340" - Loud Ranch

Its been, believe it or not, 17 years since Ducas last released an album. Back then he had two excellent Richard Bennett produced albums on Capitol but since then the landscape has changed considerably. On first glance thinks look promising with Ducas wearing his cowboy hat and a stylish western shirt. But the first track on the album, Cowtown, conforms more to the demands of country radio with a song co-written by Ducas and Jim Beavers (who has written songs with Dierks Bentley). It is the kind of turbo charged country that radio favours with the theme being boys looking for a good time and to "let's go kicking it in Cowtown". The guitar here is right upfront and rocking. This album was co-produced by Ducas and Matt McClure and shows that they are well aware that things have changed a lot since his last releases.

Given that there are still strong country elements at play, even if they take into account current demands. Dan Dugmore plays steel as he did on the previous albums and that instrument is a key component of the sound. The fiddle has all but vanished this time out though. It is a strong sound that features keyboards as a key part of the sound. But Ducas is in great voice and can still handle a country song as on Ain't That Crazy which along with Gimme Back My Honky Tonk are the most traditional sounding songs here and may have many wishing for more of the same. But that's not to take away from the power of the other songs which still sound more country than many of his current contemporaries.

That Ducas had a hand in writing every song here shows that he has kept up his songwriting skills. He co-writes here his friend and mentor Radney Foster on I Need To Love You, a song about the importance of loving a special person. The final song Your Song is also a committed love song while the man in Amnesia is looking to have a selective case of that condition in order to forget about a former partner when he sees her picture or in person. It's one of the best song on the album.

So while it might not quite reach the heights of the Capitol albums it is good to have Ducas back and he's writing well and singing better than ever and pretty much in control of his destiny this time out. Making music that will please many of his old fans while likely to make him some new ones too. Hopefully this album will see him garner some mainstream airplay to make his return all the more worthwhile.