Clint Black ‘When I Said I Do' (Cracker Barrel Old Country Store)
With a voice as smooth as cream gravy and comforting as fresh biscuits, Clint Black proves a good fit for Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores' exclusive CD series with “When I Said I Do.” Hearing the album in the eatery made me realize how much I've missed Black's distinctive drawl.
At 51, his voice retains the trademark warmth that made him especially suited to love songs. The New Jersey-born, Texas-bred singer and songwriter, who co-wrote all 14 tracks, revisits 11 romantic songs from his multiplatinum career with RCA Records, including hits “One Emotion,” “Something That We Do” and the title track. While a few of the new versions come up short of the originals — Canadian country crooner Carolyn Dawn Johnson is a fine duet partner on “Our Kind of Love,” but she can't hold a candle to Alison Krauss and Union Station, who played on the 1997 cut — most bear a strong resemblance to the originals and retain their neotraditionalist charm.
The title track, a collaboration with his actress/singer wife Lisa Hartman Black, already boasted considerable wedding-day appeal, but Black, who produced the new album, gilds the lily with dramatic orchestral flourishes. He augments “Like the Rain,” which he penned for his bride, with backing vocals from his wife and Steve Wariner. She also reprises her role as his duet partner on “Easy for Me to Say,” and her participation only gives the project more romantic resonance.