Adam Calhoun’s ‘Second Rodeo’ Proves To Be As Promising As His First- Album Review

Adam Calhoun Second Rodeo

When Adam Calhoun announced on the final track of his previous album, “Country Rap Tunes,” that it would be his final rap album, it seemed a bit obvious his next musical foray would be a complete country album.

Strangely enough, his following moves were another collaboration album with Tom McDonald and a few singles that remained firmly nestled in the musical world he told us he was leaving. This made his fans wonder if the artist was having second thoughts.

Alas, Adam Calhoun’s “Second Rodeo,” is the album that has been foretold and features cowboy boots, a couple of gunslingers, and several shots of whiskey along the way. While not as impactful as Jelly Roll’s, “Whitsitt Chapel,” Calhoun’s efforts prove respectful to the future of country music — giving his fans hope for what’s next, instead of regret for what he left behind.

“Walking Through Hell” opens the album by plopping us down in the center of an old dirty road and giving us some general directions on ways to survive. Calhoun keeps the lyrics semi-autobiographical by implanting a few of his ideals while also killing a metaphorical devil.

This song is the perfect choice for the first single off the album as it is upbeat, catchy, and even easy to sing along with. By the second listen you’ll be bopping your head and picturing yourself in the wild, wild west.

“FAFO Country” brings in the singing talents of Bryan Martin. Having a respected and well-known artist who already plays in the genre you’re dipping your toes in is never a bad idea. It is essentially getting a blessing from the pope on your new marriage.

As the two pair vocals throughout the song, Calhoun and Martin’s voices play well together, neither outshining the other. The pair are having a blast when they announce, “Fuck around and find out,” repeatedly in the chorus — reminding us all how fun country music can be.

When the title track hits, the rockier edge of the album tends to fall more into the background, and the audience feels like maybe The Grand Ole Opry may not be too out of reach for Calhoun’s endeavors. The twang of the guitar takes center stage giving Merle Haggard vibes when paired with the stories written in the lyrics.

As if they didn’t know, Calhoun tells his fans this isn’t his first rodeo. With over ten country rap albums in his pocket, it is safe to say that Calhoun has done his time in the musical trenches. Just because he has switched genres, doesn’t mean he is a different person.

Everybody got the same damn problem, so many have a broken heart. I used to come here to feel alright, now I come here to fall apart.

“They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To” conjures visions of Johnny Cash’s ghost while Adam Calhoun remembers his grandfather vividly — a tall man who gave great hugs and taught the musician everything he knew. There is a smile in Calhoun’s voice as he tells the tale but also the tiniest hint of regret.

No matter how long family members live, they are always gone a bit too soon. You’d give anything to tell them you love them one last time.

“How Wrong You Done Me” slows things down quite a bit with Calhoun remaining in his retrospect. He sings of a woman who fed him lies throughout their relationship. It is difficult to know whether this song is fictional or focused on a prior relationship, but it seems safe to say he isn’t calling out the mother of his children.

So many songs about heartbreak these days have a twist toward revenge, but Calhoun never even raises his voice at the memory of this woman who affected him profoundly.

Anyone who has spent any time with Adam Calhoun’s library knows he is proud of pulling himself up by his bootstraps. He wasn’t handed much in life, but it is a source of pride that he has gotten this far with his own bare hands.

“Self Made” solidifies these ideas, making a powerful anthem for all who have done the same. Just because we are born at the bottom, doesn’t mean we have to stay there.

As the set begins to round itself out, “Drinking Tonight” picks the tempo back up and gives us a catchy hook that went missing about halfway through the album. The lyrics bite like the whiskey Calhoun tells his old lady he has been drinking, and the bottle seems to have kicked up his mean spirit as his words come off as a warning about pushing him too hard.

While possibly the least redeemable song on the record, it still hits a man deep, raising a barely quenchable fire in his belly. Dousing that flame with Jack or Jim isn’t likely the best solution, but sometimes men feel better when they can defeat one demon with another.

“Second Rodeo” isn’t an album that will go down in history. There aren’t any words that haven’t been sung before, and the guitar playing is suitable for nearly any country album in the last ten years. But that doesn’t mean that this isn’t a solid effort.

The varied rhythms keep the tracklist interesting enough without making the album feel bipolar, and Calhoun never seems out of place in his newly decided genre.

This may not be Calhoun’s Jason DeFord moment, but this will give him enough momentum to spark a few hundred more fans. And that is all an artist can hope for, keeping your old fans happy while bringing some new ones into the fold.

What is your favorite track on Second Rodeo?”  Let us know in the comments below.

Listen to “Second Rodeo:”

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Self-proclaimed entertainment guru Charles E Henning fills his free time reading books, watching movies, and listening to music. While not always up on the latest trends, he is always willing to dissect the themes of pop culture.

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