Ben Atkins – Ma Belle
1. Maybelle - 4:14 2. Last Hard Bible - 2:50 3. I'm to Blame - 4:1- 4. I'll Come Around - 3:16 5. Another Place and Time - 5:06 6. The Same - 3:39 7. Milo Johnson - 2:05 8. Evert Time You Turn Around - 4:06 9. Rivers and Pines - 4:21 10. You Pulled Me Down - 3:21 11. I Don't Want to Hide - 6:23 12. Ask Me Why - 3:30
Ben Atkins (vocals, harmonica, guitars) , Kym Warner (mandolin, guitars, bouzouki, harmony vocals) , Jedd Hughes (guitars) , Brad Fordham (bass) , Lloyd Maines (pedal steel, lap steel, dobro) , Eamon McLoughlin (fuddle) , Rick Richards (drums) , Joel Guzman (accordion) , Rod McCormack (banjo) , Nick Conolly (B3 organ) , Danny Levin (cello) , Paul Pearcy (percussion, foot tap) , Carol Young (harmony vocals) , Bill Whitbeck (harmony vocals, yodel/field holler)
1. AllMusic by Robert L. Doerschuk
Throughout his third album, Ben Atkins infuses his vocals with an eagerness that consistently distracts from the material. On the faster material especially, such as the title cut or the awkward, noisy "You Pulled Me Down," his nasal timbre and affected delivery sound almost like an Adam Sandler caricature. As a writer, Atkins can be more effective, though lines about tears that "run down your face like rain" and affirmations that "my love for you is so deep" suggest less command of metaphor than Steve Earle and other obvious influences consistently exhibit. References to small-town life spill through the lyrics on songs like "Rivers And Pines," but they never quite stir the senses. Part of the reason stems from the production; there's nothing dusty or worn in the crystalline mix, in which every part is a little too hard and clear. Part stems as well from a less than effective use of instrumentation, as in the whole-note, root-position cello drone that should have blossomed into a compelling counter-melody on "Ask Me Why." But ultimately, this road leads back to Atkins himself, who for whatever reason, doesn't sound like someone who's yet lived the life he writes about.