John D Hale Band’s Success: Not More Than They Can Handle

by James Layman

For The John D. Hale Band you would think following the success of their sophomore release Lost would be a daunting prospect. Many musicians have had success with their second release only to have their third release completely flop. This is not the case with Hale’s newest offering, More Than I Can Handle.


The album kicks off with the title track “More Than I Can Handle”, which shows exactly how polished the band has become over the years. I’d put this song up there with any other single that has hit the Pop Country charts in the last couple of years. “Sin for Sin”, “Harold Wilson”, “Muddy River“, “Satisfy Your Love”, “One Way Track”, and “Devil in Disguise” are all standouts on the album and they are all capable of being singles in their own right. The fact that there are so many good songs on this album really showcases how versatile JDHB is and what they are capable of.


If I had to choose an absolute favorite off of this album, I think I’d go with “Sin for Sin” which, while not extremely flashy, fits the genre like a glove and is a testament to the current sound of country music.


“Harold Wilson” hits close to the bands rural roots and paints a picture of the perils of farming. As one of the more traditional country numbers on the album, this one shines because of its sense of authenticity.


The next song “Muddy River” takes a walk on the dark side of country and tells the tale of murderous revenge. I could easily see this one becoming a country anthem played around barnyard bonfires nationwide.


For you Bluegrass fans out there, “Satisfy Your Love” comes complete with banjo and fiddle, but also leaves in the drums and pedal steel for a complete sound. It’s not traditional bluegrass but it’s a solid sound with great musicianship throughout.


“One Way Track” is another solid, real deal, country tune and “Devil in Disguise” closes out the album with a bang while having some of the best “semi-local” pedal steel playing I’ve ever heard.


If I didn’t find a couple of tunes that were less appealing on the album, this wouldn’t be an honest review; after all not every album can be a Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison.


“Back to You”, “Hearts Like Us”, and “Desperate People” are all decently written songs, but for one reason or another they don’t have the strength of the other songs. I’m not saying they’re terrible songs, I’m just saying from this listener’s point of view they could have been left off of this album.


All in all, if you’re looking for a great country album, with diversity and expert musicianship this one’s for you. Be sure to get it autographed next time you see them though, because The John D Hale Band is going to be spending a lot more time in Austin and Nashville in the near future.

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