Colt Ford is probably the only former pro golfer turned country star in history. He’s also one of the genre’s few rappers. And although you would not be alone in thinking that country and rap are two perfectly reasonable things that usually turn out pretty awful when placed in proximity to each other, Ford’s latest, a dunderheaded but not terrible party disc called (how has no country artist ever used this title before?) “Declaration of Independence,” may be the franken-genre’s sole exception.
“Declaration” is a sprawling, pugnacious mess of an album, a collection of undeniable hooks, often more rap-rock than country-rap, strung together with offbeat guest stars and bumper sticker wisdom about God, girls and guns. It’s as if someone combined all the worst qualities of Kid Rock, Hank Williams Jr. (whose infamous anti-Obama sentiments are implicitly endorsed on the opening, please-boycott-me manifesto “Answer to No One”) and a cartoon rendering of a country singer drawn by a Fox Nation commenter, and came up with something that was somehow not as awful as those things, and occasionally sort of sweet.
“Declaration” suffers from too-muchness. “Back,” a sing-song-y ballad that’s affecting in spite of itself, applies its wistful childhood reminiscences (fishing holes, squirrel hunting, Mama’s home cooking) with a trowel. On the protean hillbilly hip-hop banger “Drivin’ Around Song,” Jason Aldean has to wrestle laser noises and AutoTune just to be heard. Also not helping matters: Ford’s tendency to namecheck superior country singers and songs such as “Country Must Be Country Wide,” which he co-wrote, and is unwise to mention — there’s nothing here that punches even close to its weight.
“Drivin’ Around Song,” “Back”