Steve Moakler - "Born Ready"

Track listing....
1) Born Ready - Steve Moakler, Luke Laird, Barry Dean
2) Crazy Does - Steve Moakler, Gordie Sampson, Jon Randall
3) Breaking New Ground - Steve Moakler, Ryan Beaver, Neil Medley
4) One Of The Boys - Steve Moakler, Jessi Alexander, Chris Stevens
5) Devices - Steve Moakler, Cary Barlowe, Steven Lee Olsen
6) Hard Not To Love It - Steve Moakler, Luke Laird, Barry Dean
7) Slow Down - Steve Moakler, Morgan Taylor Reid
8) Thirty - Steve Moakler, Troy Verges, Gordie Sampson
9) Nightlife - Steve Moakler, Angelo
10) Chesney - Steve Moakler, Connie Harrington
11) One More Troubadour - Steve Moakler
12) The Last Word - Steve Moakler, Deric Ruttan

Following on the heels of last year's very impressive Steel Town (my album of the year), June 15th marked the release of Steve Moakler's latest album Born Ready. Liberally littered with stand-out songs from an artist who is undoubtedly a rising star, Born Ready is already a possible album of the year in my opinion.

Interestingly, one of the strongest songs on the release is the only track that sees a solo write from Steve. One More Troubadour is the penultimate song and sees a contemplative lyric delivered with a heartfelt vocal performance. Both Steve's skill at song-writing and overall impressive artistry is evident here, with his vocal sounding strong and completely comfortable throughout. One More Trobadour is both thought-provoking and distinctly playable, with a soft drum line providing backing for the various interweaving instruments.

This contemplative lyric is also evident in Thirty. A really touching song that is sure to be relatable to a lot of listeners, Thirty once again sees Steve at his strongest. It is easy to find yourself wrapped up in the story, vocal and instrumentalisation of a song that undoubtedly creates a distinctly enjoyable listening experience, with the lyrics painting a clear picture and the overall message behind lines like "so what if I missed my chance to be an astronaut" leaving you smiling.

The lead single (and title track) opens the album. With echoes of a soft rock influence akin to Steel Town, Born Ready offers the perfect moment to simply turn the music up loud and sing along. Interestingly originally written as part of a promotion link for Mac Trucks, Born Ready offers the same clear storytelling alongside a rockier dynamic. Opening with a re-occurring stereotypical drum hook played on a guitar, the compelling sound of the track serves as a very strong opener for the album.

Hard Not To Love It offers an upbeat, 'good-time' song that will certainly find you tapping your feet along. The catchy production complements the positive message behind the track well...I would certainly have finished this review considerably sooner if I could have sit still! It would be great to see Hard Not To Love It as a future single, with it's summery feel and confident vocal it feels like it would be a great choice.

A distinctly impressive album from, arguably, one of modern day Nashville's strongest storytellers, Born Ready certainly deserves a place in any country music fan's collection. Steve Moakler continues to showcase his impressive talents and is certainly making his mark as a force to be reckoned with within country music - undoubtedly an artist to watch!