I have to admit I was expecting a lot of tropes when I was informed I would be reviewing a “Christian/country songwriter” who goes by the name Martin X Petz. Just take a look at those two genres in the mainstream. Almost all the country you hear on the radio sounds exactly the same. Switch over to the Christian station which I wouldn't do but my ex-girlfriend would do and so many of those bands sound the same.
Well I ate my thoughts when I started listening to his album Broken Man. The album has more of a traditional country vibe that was immediately enjoyable to my ears. Lyrically, the album revolves around the title of the album. His lyrics are straightforward and aren't exactly poetic but are direct and sometimes hit your emotional nerves.
The album starts with the title track which is a great song. He has an aesthetically pleasing voice and I liked the mix of melancholy and triumph. The thing that was the cherry on top was the horns. As the album progresses the songwriting is consistently strong. “Noble Blues” has a tinge of ’90s alternative music thrown in there while “Fall” is a somber yet emotionally resonant song.
Some of the tales are familiar topics such as “Run Ride Leave” which flirts around the topic of the “one that got away.” As the album progressed I thought the close “Chained” was the other highlight.
As enjoyable as Broken Man is it's not an album that is breathing fresh air into the country genre like A Sailor's Guide to Earth by Sturgill Simpson. That being said how many albums actually can do that. Broken Man is nonetheless an album that I think will be enjoyed by true lovers of actual country music rather than country pop. It feels authentic, honest and straight from the heart. Something that seems all too infrequent these days from what the radio passes for country these days.
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