When we handed our review copy of Dylan Scott’s new album to Paul Sammon, he saw its 16 tracks, took a deep breath and dived in head first. When finally he came up for air, this is what he had to say about Livin’ My Best Life.
Normally, I’d leave the summary to the end but here’s where this review is heading.
It’s good. Buy it.
There you go. If you want to know why I feel that way, please read on, but this really is a great, happy, loving album that everyone should have.
If you don’t stream and you still buy music, it’s great value at 16 tracks. Very much a country pop album with a tinge of Bro Country thrown in for good measure. But there’s also an element of Bible Belt, too. Something for everyone, I guess.
You could say it’s been a long time coming when you consider the single, New Truck was released a year ago. A very up tempo, relatable break-up song reflecting on how he wants a new ride that has no memories of his ex. Reminiscent of a Chris Young type arrangement with overlayed guitars and deep vocals. Even if you can’t relate, it’s still a good tune.
First of the God-tinged tracks is Amen To That. Simply telling us he’s thankful to the Good Lord for this woman in his life. You can hear the HARDY influences in the synthesised “Amen to that” background vocals. Michael Hardy co-wrote this one with Morgan Wallen.
I’m not sure who Can’t Have Mine (Find You A Girl) is being sung to as such; a friend maybe, or perhaps a guy he’s just met in a bar that’s hit on his girl? But the track is laced with backhanded compliments about his own lady by virtue of how he describes the kind of woman his cohort should be looking for. A nice acoustic guitar track, it doesn’t need to be heavy, the message is clear from the lyrics. A beautiful song.
In Our Blood is a heavier track. A collab with Jimmie Allen that’s very much a raise your hands affair. I might be reading too much into the interracial partnership here but, as the song goes, “We all bleed red at the end of the day, don’t we?” And that’s exactly how it should be. One to turn up loud f’sure.
I love a song that paints a picture and the opening line to Static is “There’s something ‘bout a red dirt road that makes the sky more blue.” Yes. Yes please. More of that if you don’t mind? Us Brits do love a walk in the country and there’s still something about living vicariously through these songs – driving a truck past the city limits to the middle of nowhere. Here he tells us how much he loves it, too. It’s nice and gentle, not too heavy at all.
Now, here’s the kind of song the ladies love to hear from their fella. Lay Down With You is catchy, loving and much akin to Drake White’s Makin’ Me Look Good Again. “Getting home to you is what gets me through ‘til it’s quitting time.” Another simple, acoustic guitar led ballad aimed at telling his good lady it’s time with her that makes it all worthwhile. One for the romantics.
If you’re playing the album in order, then Boy I Was Back Then is the prequel to Lay Down f’sure. Although he loves his time now, he wasn’t always like that, and this describes his life before her. It’s a bigger sound but there’s still the vein of acoustic running through the verses, making it still a personal song to the listener. I can’t help but be reminded of the melody of ‘One of Them Girls’ by Lee Brice when I hear this one.
When I first heard the title track, I had to see if it was written by Sam Hunt. It wasn’t. But I’m not surprised to see Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard on the credits. Alongside Thomas Rhett no less, as well as Corey Crowder (Chris Young, Little Big Town, Kane Brown). It’s kind of your typical “isn’t life grand?” sort of song. If I can be honest, while it’s not a bad song, it’s a shame it was chosen as the lead for the album because it’s not the strongest on the whole project and the musical style feels a little out of place. But, that said, the title of course says it all.
Somewhat eerily like the tune to Something in the Water by Carrie Underwood, Killin’ Some Time is another one of those feel-good tunes you can’t help but tap along to. Our singer is praying he’ll get to Heaven but until then… cue the chorus. But seriously, although it could have been written with a song formulator app, I can’t help but really like it. It beats along at a nice tempo, and I can see it going down well with the live audiences.
Back to the next “I love you, can’t live without you” musing. As much as that sounds cynical on my part, I must confess I’m a sucker for a song like this. Ain’t Much Left Of Me is one for the karaoke bars so your man can belt it out and your girlfriends swoon while they tell you how lucky you are that he loves you this way. A little contrived, but then aren’t all love songs?
Have you ever had to deal with the ex of your current partner? Had to contend with their regret for letting go and other petty goings on? Well, Leave Her Alone contains the right words, should you ever find yourself in that position. You can imagine, being a country pop song, there’s no swearing and it’s positively the politest way I’ve encountered telling someone to, erm, “leave her alone” if you catch my drift?
Another opening that sounds like another song, but I guess that’s no bad thing when the “other” song is ‘Whiskey & You’ by Chris Stapleton. This one, however, is father to son advice rather than a tearful breakup song. Tough is a fine example of letting the lyrics do all the work. His son can be taught to handle anything except falling for that girl. From being in a fight as a kid right up to his wedding day. Sounds like words of experience that should make you smile, if you have a heart.
Hell Out Of Me is one more in the “I was lost ‘til I found you” genre that are in plentiful supply on this album. Very Dustin Lynch in arrangement with banjo in the background then heavy kick drum on the chorus to liven it up. I quite like this slant on the same topic to be honest. More than pop but less than rock, almost verging on the Jason Aldean sound. Don’t get me wrong, in the real world we should spend more time finding different ways to express our love for each other, so please don’t think I’m complaining.
The final original offering is Good Times Go By Too Fast. In the same vein as Kenny Chesney’s 2007 hit, Don’t Blink, it leans away from what was a personal kind of song and has more of a big, live venue sort of sound. I’m very much an advocate of “you only get so many trips around the sun” and if Covid has taught us one thing, it’s life can come to a grinding halt overnight. Another great way of bringing to life an age-old philosophy.
For some, this may be the first they’ve heard of Dylan Scott. Bearing in mind he hasn’t really scratched the charts for a couple years, throwing in Nobody (2020) and Nothing To Do Town (2018) gives us an instant insight to his back catalogue. Like most folks, if I like an artist, I will use the power of streaming and go searching anyway but you’ll tell there’s not much difference in styles here. Meaning he’s found his sound and it works.
So, like I said at the beginning, it’s good. Go buy it.
Dylan Scott – “Livin’ My Best Life” Track Listing
1. ‘New Truck’ (Michael Hardy, Hunter Phelps, Benjamin Joel Johnson, Ashley Gorley)
2. ‘Amen To That’ (James McNair, Michael Hardy, Mark Holman, Morgan Wallen)
3. ‘Can’t Have Mine (Find You A Girl)’ (Dylan Scott, Josh Melton, Dallas Wilson, Matt Alderman)
4. ‘In Our Blood (feat. Jimmie Allen)’ (David Fanning, Brad Rempel, Matt McGinn)
5. ‘Static’ (Michael Hardy, Hunter Phelps, Ashley Gorley, Benjamin Joel Johnson)
6. ‘Lay Down With You’ (Dylan Scott, Matt Alderman, Dallas Davidson)
7. ‘Boy I Was Back Then’ (Dylan Scott, Matt Alderman, Thomas Archer, Will Weatherly)
8. ‘Livin’ My Best Life’ (Tyler Hubbard, Brian Kelley, Thomas Rhett, Corey Crowder)
9. ‘Killin’ Some Time’ (Dylan Scott, James McNair, Matt Alderman, Mark Holman)
10. ‘Ain’t Much Left Of Me’ (Dylan Scott, Taylor Phillips, Matt Alderman, Cole Taylor, Will Weatherly)
11. ‘Leave Her Alone’ (Dallas Wilson, Ernest K. Smith, Mitchell Tenpenny)
12. ‘Tough’ (Cameron Bedell, Emily Landis, Claire Douglas)
13. ‘Hell Out Of Me’ (Tommy Cecil, Matt Alderman, Kelsey Hart, Adam Craig)
14. ‘Nobody’ (Dylan Scott, Matt Alderman, Dallas Wilson)
15. ‘Good Times Go By Too Fast’ (Matt Alderman, Dylan Scott, Will Weatherly)
16. ‘Nothing To Do Town’ (Dylan Scott, Cole Taylor, Matt Alderman)