David Bradley's Songs From A Dirt Road is an album of contradictions. First, there's the album cover - David looks like an American Sixties icon - the Marlboro man, with a Tony Curtis quiff. So the first question, who's the target market? He doesn't look 'cool' in the way that would appeal to today's youth, but equally he looks too well groomed to be a rock star.
And pressing play doesn't give you any immediate answers either. The opening track Urban Refugee is one of the best on offer. It starts with Floyd/Dire Strait atmospherics before kicking into a gutsy blues-rock number that wouldn't be out of place in a Glenn Hughes set list. But thereafter, the album descends into something of a middle of the road morass of big ballads of the Curtis Stigers, Lionel Ritchie, and Wet,Wet Wet type.
It's undoubtedly American radio friendly stuff - the songs are strong, the playing good, and David's got a great voice that lends itself to a variety of styles (from the rock perspective, think somewhere between Glenn Hughes and Lee Rogers) and it's an album that would appeal to anyone who likes David Gates, Glen Campbell and the like. Interestingly, it was co-written and co-produced by Richard Darbyshire (anyone remember Living In a Box?).
There's no denying it's an altogether pleasant affair. But it doesn't grab you by the balls. It's more akin to the new wave of country/pop that is coming out of Nashville. And that tends to have limited UK market appeal. Relocate and it could be a different story, but for me, and I suspect most rock audiences, Songs From A Dirt Road will be just a little too 'safe'.