It’s impossible to listen to this album and not compare the vocal style, guitar riffs and general sheen with the youngsters who are hitting the country charts.
Think Frankie Ballard, Charlie Worsham and even Hunter Hayes but there is a significant difference in that all of those artists have actually enjoyed chart success. Blaine has been seeking chart success for the last ten years but so far has had modest success only in the Canadian country charts.
This is actually a very impressive pop country album and if given the exposure would provide Blaine with the elusive mainstream breakthrough.
The album opens with the first single, title track “Country Side” a sing-a-long radio friendly ode to happy times followed by “Travelin Lite” which is very reminiscent of Frankie Ballard’s “Helluva Life”.
The new single “Spotlight”, a rock guitar driven pounder, stays on the pop side of country (just about!) and we have a mellower moment with “Arms Around”, a personal favourite.
Another standout is “Sugar Ridge”, another radio-friendly track and for me the stand out track on the album.
Blaine has now made Nashville his home, where he lives with his wife and 3 kids. His devotion to family life is apparent on the final track “Play With My Son” where he duets with his son Carter.
To date his chart success is modest but things may be looking up. “Country Side” was his first Canadian top 10 single and there is enough good material on this album to ensure that this wasn’t just a flash in the pan.