Jon Wolfe | Dos Corazones | Fool Hearted Productions
Three out of Five Stars
Jon Wolfe has come a long way since he spent his youth singing in church and then getting his initial induction to country music courtesy of his stepdad, a professional bass player in a local house band. His own interest in making music professionally was supposedly inspired by a concert he witnessed by the band Alabama and a subsequent invitation to board their tour bus and share a few songs. After a stint in Austin and several honkytonk appearances thereafter, he found himself hailed as an up-and-coming country star and opening shows for the likes of Merle Haggard, Dwight Yoakam, and George Strait.
A skillful songwriter, Wolfe has several albums and hit singles under his belt, as well as his own record label, the birthplace of his latest effort, Dos Corazones. For the most part, Wolfe still hews to a familiar template, sharing songs about cheating women and treacherous two-timers, even while espousing his faith in ever-lasting love at the very same time. “A Cowgirl Like You” and “I’m Your Guy” find him affirming that affection, while “That’s What I’m Doin’” suggests he’ll do just fine even if the girl he longed for doesn’t show him the same dedication and devotion. Naturally then, Wolfe takes the concept of crying tears in the beer one step further, opting for a more potent brew courtesy of “Tequila Sundown,” a track topped off with a south-of-border flair.
The remainder of the album serves much the same purpose, allowing Wolfe the opportunity to express his emotions and vent at the same time. The melodies are generally easy and accessible, served up with a supple sway and an otherwise amiable attitude. Granted, there’s little here that hasn’t been heard on the commercial country top 40 before, but given Wolfe’s reservoir of chart-topping singles, it’s hardly surprising that he’s faithful to the formula. A steadfast twosome, “American Country Band” and “Lost Cause Like Me,” makes it clear in fact that he’s all too happy to stay true to the template. That said, “Runaway With Me” brings him surprisingly close to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” environs.
Still, none of that negates the earnest sentiment embossed in the tender trappings of an emotionally engaged ballad like “Two Hearts in Terlingua,” one of the album’s standout songs.
Ultimately, Wolfe’s most honest admission comes early on courtesy of “Here’s To All My Heroes” and “When the Good Ol Boys Age Out,” each an homage to those that not only spawned his desire to pursue his promise early on but also sacrificed so that everyone else can do so. Given the fact that the album boasts seventeen songs, it’s pretty clear that he himself possesses no shortage of interest or inspiration. After all, Dos Corazones suggests those ideals are still in sync.