For Acquired Taste, his first studio album in four years, McClinton doesn’t stray far from what he’s done in the past; amazingly, it’s his entire past he draws upon. The album jumps to life with the rollicking roadhouse stomp of “Mama’s Little Baby,” eases into the smoky jazz-blues of “Starting a Rumor,” honky-tonks along with “Can’t Nobody Say I Didn’t Try,” lays out the heartbreak country on “Never Saw It Comin’,” and fills the dance floor with the straight blues of “Do It” and “I Need to Know.” John Prine, Lyle Lovett, Jerry Lee Lewis, George Strait, and B.B. King, take note: Your hits are ready. Through all the stylistic shifts, the songs bristle with McClinton’s passionate energy, the consistent thread that ties it all together. With Acquired Taste, McClinton moves the needle on his career from acclaimed artist to bona-fide national treasure.
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