When One Door Closes (Audium)

Jimmy Fortune 

When One Door Closes (Audium)

What has Jimmy Fortune, the former Statler Brother responsible for "Elizabeth" and "More Than a Name on a Wall," been up to since the Statlers retired in 1999? Why, rerecording "Elizabeth" and "More Than a Name on a Wall." Even without the Statlers' harmonies, the songs sound just as syrupy as they did during Bush I. There's pleasant new stuff here, too -- the ballads just a touch more pious and hummable than the rave-ups -- as well as a fine Rodney Crowell cover and some when-we-were-young stuff that sounds meager against the triumphant nostalgia of the new Brooks & Dunn. But the heart is those old Statler hits. Even by country standards, the late '80s are a time long lost, and these slight, easy melodies wouldn't have a chance against today's syncopated boot-scootin'. But little has changed thematically. In its confusion, evasiveness and utter inability to communicate meaningful thought about a complicated subject, "Name on a Wall" blazed trails still stinking today, leading directly to Alan Jackson's freshman-comp essay on where he was when the world stopped turning. Fortune's tribute to (or, perhaps, attack upon) the Vietnam Memorial is so crappily observed and detailed that it ultimately says nothing about nothing. A woman standing at the wall tells God to let her son know that he's more than just a name pounded into stone. Having stood there myself, with all parties stunned at the immensity of loss, I know this boy wasn't just a name. But I also know he deserves to be more than a cipher in a piss-poor song.

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