Dallas Wayne mixes country's dyed-in-denim traditions with the stupidity-free sensibility of modern, insurgent C&W. On Fan, Wayne wraps his burly baritone around a batch of old-style tunes that mention trucks and jukeboxes but never scream cliches. (Fan's intended early-2004 rollout was delayed because of eye problems that have left Wayne blind in one eye.) His specialty is cheeky honky-tonkers: "You Can Count on Me" sports lines like "If you need someone to cheat and lie, you can count on me," while "Tex-Tosterone" offers a unique explanation for a man's rowdy ways. Elsewhere, "Junior Samples" flips the name of Hee Haw's bumpkin hero into a celebration of a boy who eats too much. Sure, it gets close to corny, but it stays smart. What separates Wayne from the commercial crowd is how he dares to cover social ills and hard truth. "Under the Overpass," for example, is a folksy but honest portrayal of a homeless man that's free of Music City sap. And the title track, a menacing tale of a stalking fan that no Nashville act would ever touch, highlights Wayne's unflinching, I'm-doing-it-my-way appeal.
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