I was talking to someone the other day and asked them what sort of music they liked: “I dunno,” came the reply. “I like a bit of everything, I suppose, I am easy.”

Each to their own, I guess, and everyone is different and all that, but that’s about as far from my experience as you can get. I do like a lot of different styles (check the reviews section on this site) and I am proud to do so, but ask me what I love and I know for damn sure that I could tell you.

You see, rightly or wrongly, I live my life through the prism of these words. I can tell you, for example exactly which girl is “suddenly beautiful” in the Counting Crows song, I can’t listen to “Livin’ On A Prayer” without thinking of my mum’s funeral (where it was played) and I can give you about a million of these anecdotes. The last one: I can tell you the second when I decided rock n roll was the most exciting thing on planet earth. That bit in the solo in “It’s So Easy”. Nothing has ever sounded so dangerous. Nothing ever will. And why? Because music is my life. My life revolves around it.

Larry Fleet would – I hope – understand. He might have other songs (and I’ll concede that his first words to his new born niece weren’t, probably: “You are gorgeous, aren’t you? Do you like the new Iron Maiden album?” like mine were the other week) but when music matters, it matters.

The title track to this deals with that. “When I couldn’t find the words/ I played her some Whitley” is its first line (and I probably associate tell you what I associate “Man In A Box” with ……) and he’s off. Fleet is a lifer. He’s on this journey too. I am all in with him.

He even helps a reviewer, he signposts it for you:

“If you wanna know me

You gotta know what’s in my soul

A little Bakersfield and Memphis

And a whole lotta Muscle Shoals

Take some country soul rock and roll”

Is more than a chorus, its this record. He co-writes every song with a fleet, as it were, of helpers (the title cut is co-authored with Eric Paslay) and all of them are superb. “Lifetime Guarantee” is simple, down-home, not dreaming of stardom – indeed, not dreaming at all, and the massive hit single “Where I Find God” could honestly only come from small town US of A.

“Quttin’ Ain’t Workin;” is fun and frolics, kind of Brothers Osborne but with a redder neck. Try and resist the chorus, at your peril. The overt pop “Different Kind Of Red” is going to be a hit. A huge one.

The fact that musicianship, the songwriting and just about everything else here, is from the top drawer shouldn’t be glossed over, because this is polished and proud, “Life Worth Living” underlines it, and “Hurt Feelings” makes sure you understand it clearly.

There’s another point here too. You don’t have to be from Small Town America to get this. You don’t need to have spent time in a “Church Parking Lot” to get that one either. Substitute his memories for yours and you’re cool. Larry understands.

“In Love With My Problems” (featuring Jon Pardi) is worthy of Shooter Jennings, frankly. Totally sure of itself, and as the saying goes, if you know, you know. Likewise, if these songs have broken hearts, then name me many great songs that are happy. While you’re doing that I’ll listen to “Three Chords And A Lie” and think about who it’s really about.

The soul he promised comes in “Never Want To Meet Another Woman” (this one is happy to be fair)  while “Heart On My Sleeve” couldn’t be happier if it tried, and the harmonica driven “One For The Road” does let its hair down and party with the boys – but you know he longs to be home with the records and the family. The two might be interchangeable at this point.

Back to “Stack Of Records” the song. There’s a bit where he sings this:

Well, I hope my music moves you

As I stand up here tonight

I hope your road goes on forever

And your party never ends

And maybe he’s not sure. Lets not forget that “….Records” itself is his debut full length. Read this 750 words again and decide whether it connected.

Rating 9/10