Mark McGuinn

“Mrs. Steven Rudy,” the first single to be released from Mark McGuinn’s first CD, is clearly the standout song on this album, as evidenced by the fact that country station listeners like me had been so eager for its May 10 release that we bought the $4.50 single because we just couldn’t wait a couple of more weeks. I even put the American Country Music Awards on low—LeeAnn Rimes was being a brat—so I could listen to the new CD. McGuinn, a Nashville success story, is not your cowboy-hat-wearing kind of country singer. With his backward slouch cap and hippie necklaces, he looks more beatnik than boots. The twang you’ll hear is from the dobro, not McGuinn’s voice.

It really is a fun, upbeat song—all about how this guy covets his neighbor’s wife: "Hey Mrs. Steven Rudy/ You’re the neighborhood beauty/ That wedding ring’s as ugly/ As your husband is to you." That’s about as deep as the album gets, even as McGuinn switches from commandment-breaking to borderline gospel lyrics. McGuinn is more about rhyming and rhythms than intense introspection. Although the ballads are not as strong as the more rockin’ pieces, the album was certainly no disappointment. But I think I missed something good on the awards show.