Ted Cline’s guiding motto for his music is “country music done right” and it isn’t pure puffery. Cline strikes an effective balance between traditional country music and contemporary sounds with an added dollop of R&B influences mixed into the stew. Based out of the Kansas City area, Cline’s talents have carried him far earning him coveted supporting roles with artists such as George Jones, The Tennessee Yodeler Margo Smith, and Chris LeDoux, among others. His skills as a multi-instrumentalist have made him an in-demand performer and his first solo efforts reach the same heights as his work as an accompanying musician. Cline is adept at covering notable past artists, but his original material, often co-penned with songwriter Gary Beard, is every bit as strong. His latest single “Mexican Ana” bears that out for anyone listening.
The lyrical content is exemplary. Cline and Beard work well together crafting a mix of lean economical lines and complementary musical backing that serves the song rather than looking to impress listeners. The clipped, focused writing dominating this track fixes its attention on significant details and the songwriting team of Beard and Cline never waste a word. The writing naturally lends itself, as well, to maximizing its phrasing potential. His slightly weathered and road-tested vocals make great use of the track’s storytelling vibe and invest the lyrics with a level of gravitas it wouldn’t otherwise possess.
It has cinematic flair as well. The percussion sets a mid-tempo pace and the flourish of acoustic guitar throughout the track, colored with a strong south of the border feel, is difficult to resist. There’s a thorough understanding of dynamics you hear throughout this performance; Cline’s longtime experience as a songwriter and professional musician serves him nicely here. It has definite peaks and valleys Cline and Beard’s songwriting builds into its structure and the musicians take advantage of. The running time is a few seconds longer than three minutes, but it feels like a much fuller track and never cheats the listener.
The acoustic guitar playing will be the musical highlight for many. It has a soft and fluid touch that will satisfy many listeners and achieves lyrical effects that strengthen the track. Cline and his collaborators bring a high level of musicianship to this performance, but it is never ostentatious and remains accessible throughout. The country music genre needs artists such as Ted Cline more than ever before and his ambition to honor the music’s roots while applying a modern veneer is laudable. “Mexican Ana” is an individual effort despite the spirit of collaboration that helps shape the piece; Cline has skill and presence alike that recalls the genre’s greats while standing on its own as a fully realized work. It is what longtime fans of country music still wish it sounded like while harboring well-calculated appeal for contemporary music fans perhaps not as aware of the genre’s past. “Mexican Ana” is an excellent character study in miniature, as well, and far from disposable like so much modern music.
The music of Ted Cline has been heard all over the world in partnership with the radio plugging services offered by Musik and Film Radio Promotions Division. Learn more https://musikandfilm.com
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