By Holly Smith
10 years and five number ones since he moved to Nashville, Davis has learned and lost enough to make a reflective second album.
After 10 years and five No.1s, Jordan Davis has learned and lost enough to make a reflective second album - one which gives his commercial appeal the firmest songwriter’s massage we’ve heard in his work yet.
At 17 tracks, Bluebird Days is bound to have some filler, but it rises in its depths. The pre-releases – 'What My World Spins Around', 'Part of It' and 'Midnight Crisis' – are actually weaker counterparts to some of the deeper cuts on the record, revealing these takes on family, life’s knocks and love gone bad to be watery makeweights for the actual substance.
The exception is 'No Time Soon', a steamy growler that should have the object of its affections sweating as it draws comparisons to Jason Isbell’s 'Cover Me Up' (though Jordan’s gruffer-than-usual vocals come from the same lineage as Morgan Wallen’s version).
Knee-trembling aside, the real chemistry comes when Davis gets his hands round a good lyrical bite, like on 'Sunday Saints' ("throw some money in the plate, the rest in the tip jar" – the album’s second and more interesting reference to church plates), which has fun sampling 'When The Saints Go Marching In'. The title track isn’t a nod to Nashville’s famed Bluebird Cafe, but a look at life after his parents’ divorce, whilst 'Short Fuse' laments his own temper.
The standout is 'Fishing Spot', a heartache of a song about his late grandfather, on which he sings "instead of standing at your stone I’m staring at your rock / catching up with you at your fishing spot".
Even on tracks with titles like 'One Beer in Front of the Other' or 'Damn Good Time', Davis at least sounds like he is actually having a good time, rather than stuck in the stranglehold of a 2010s country music tombola wearing a pristine trucker hat and a well-oiled beard.
It’s an enjoyable album that showcases a more sophisticated songwriting style. Davis’ Bluebird Days may be over, but he’s got some ink left in his pen yet.
Jordan Davis' 2023 album, Bluebird Days, is released February 17th via MCA Nashville. You can purchase the record from one of Holler's selected partners below:
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