Alanna Nash
December 13, 1991 AT 05:00 AM EST

Don't Go Near the Water

Current Status
In Season
Sammy Kershaw

We gave it a B

Newcomer Sammy Kershaw grew up in southern Louisiana, but unlike his third cousin, famed Cajun fiddler Doug Kershaw, he spent more time listening to George Jones than to the furtive secrets of the bayou. On his impressive debut, Don’t Go Near the Water, Kershaw works the Jones homage overtime — sucking in his words and biting them off at the end of a phrase in the master’s style — and even recording Jones’ upbeat honky-tonk weeper ”What Am I Worth.” Kershaw finally gets as spicy as etouffe when he forsakes the ballads for ”Don’t Go Near the Water,” a snaky tune about teenage sexual exploration and hot Southern nights, and ”Cadillac Style,” a sly redneck rocker that traffics in class struggle and lust. At 33 and well into his third marriage, Kershaw has lived enough to sound more experienced on his slow tunes and greasier on his fast ones, but his sterling song selection makes up for a world of country hurts. B

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