The Ringmaster General
Label: Surfdog Records
A companion piece to The Blackbird Diaries, released the previous year, The Ringmaster General is another solid set of soul-infused dad rock and Americana recorded at John and Martina McBride's Blackbird Studios in Nashville. This time around, though, Stewart's music has significantly more bite ("Girl in a Catsuit"), more fun ("I Got Love") and more boogie ("Story of Success"). Funny thing: Stewart's brand of rootsy pop-n-roll sounds awfully like John Mellencamp circa 1985's Scarecrow. Then again, that can be said of most everything that has emerged from Music City U.S.A. in the 21st century.