Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

John Michael Montgomery: John Michael Montgomery [Atlantic, 1995]
Nashville belched up the usual candidates for ritual slaughter this year, but most of them just weren't worthy. From ten-gallon wimps like Clay Walker to Village People rejects like Tim McGraw, the hunk boom of the early '90s is already playing out, and though Clint Black could have been so much more, in fact he still shows flashes even if he did check in with a Christmas album. This guy is slipping from lower on the evolutionary ladder and higher up on the heap. He took album three double-platinum on a bare-faced, two-fisted imitation of Garth Brooks, whom he has the gall to cut with Hank Williams Jr. Garth is great in part because he'd never give a woman a 10 or cap a well-reported verse-and-chorus about the hard labor of divorced motherhood with a covertly resentful verse about how the little lady needs a man. C+