Nobody took Ricky Van Shelton very seriously when he recorded his first album, Wild-Eyed Dream, in 1987. His pipes were better than average, but his jacket-cover pose — all prime beefcake straining the fibers of a sexy undershirt — made him seem too much of a pretty-boy. And his songs tended to play things too safe. Three platinum albums later, and with Backroads, Van Shelton has succeeded precisely because of his refusal to take musical chances and his manipulation of his image. Van Shelton is the country crooner for the GQ generation, all his rough edges neatly filed off or hidden under his fashionable horseman’s duster. This album, with its jumpy rockabilly tunes, purring ballads, and ”Rockin’ Years” duet with Dolly Parton, shows off his considerable technical skill to its greatest advantage. With more muscle than heart, and more heart than wit, Van Shelton will never be mistaken for an original talent. But he is undeniably one of the genre’s smoothest assimilators — and operators. B+
Backroads Nobody took Ricky Van Shelton very seriously when he recorded his first album, Wild-Eyed Dream, in 1987. His pipes were better than average,...BackroadsCountry Nobody took Ricky Van Shelton very seriously when he recorded his first album, Wild-Eyed Dream, in 1987. His pipes were better than average,...1991-07-19
Genre: Country; Lead Performer: Ricky Van Shelton
Posted July 19 1991 — 12:00 AM EDT
- 'Big Brother': Jason reveals what name he almost called Liz on live TV
- Nile Rodgers explains why FOLD is totally different than other music festivals
- 9 TV characters we wish were our camp counselors
- Read an exclusive excerpt from Jennifer E. Smith's 'Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between'
- Meet the beautiful scene-stealer in 'Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation'
- Carly Rae Jepsen's 'Warm Blood' is an infectious electro-pop tune
- Ed Helms plays 'Shag, Marry, Kill': Former costar edition
- 'The Walking Dead' Season 6: 12 EW exclusive photos
- 10 must-have items from the 'Mad Men' auction: Exclusive
- Stars go back to work! 'Scandal,' 'Arrow,' 'The Good Wife,' more return to set
- Charlie Hunnam and Excalibur glisten in 'King Arthur' first look photos
- Here are the 2015 games we're looking forward to most
- Helen Mirren, Tom Cruise, The Baldwins & More!