“Graduation he moved on, broke my heart like a country song, musta cried two
rivers long,” confesses Canada’s sexiest tomboy Terri Clark in ushering the
opening title track of Life Goes On. For all her long-legged, frayed farm shirt
beauty, Clark really does get this business of modern country music. Learn how
to play guitar (or at least pose with one), get a tattoo of the Canadian flag in
a conspicuous spot for photo ops, and leave the songwriting to someone else.
Clark only pens one of the 12 Life Goes On cuts herself, but when has that ever
handicapped anyone in Music City?
Rollicking good times such as “Cowboy Days” and the full-on honky tonkin’ of
“Damn Right” should go a long way to convincing Mercury Records that Clark’s
green card needs to be renewed. In fact, north of the border or not, she burns
through a sobering steel-pedal ballad (“Not Enough Tequila”) with the conviction
of Loretta Lynn, never over-doing the vocal range but instilling just enough
twang. “Everybody’s Gotta Go Sometime” is a Dobro-laden heartbreaker that keeps
Clark well within her wheelhouse. If there is a dig on her at this point, in
fact, it’s that she is pigeonholed in a fairly defined range. She is true to
Nashville, mind you, rarely being tempted to cross that pop star line (although
referencing it in “Slow News Day”, the lone topical composition here). But
Clark’s future stock could go Google on her if she only used those Dingos to
kick down a few musical walls.
With over ten years on the resume, Life Goes On marks the seventh dose of Terri
Clark in recorded form (including Greatest Hits 1994-2004 from last year). She’s
got a fistful of immediately recognizable radio hits (“I Wanna Do It All” and
“Girls Lie Too” echo across the Volunteer state like a touchdown in Neyland
Stadium), a slug of CMA trophies, and an ever-growing international fan base.
Addressing these fans inside the sleeve of the CD, Clark calls Life Goes On “the
nuts and bolts of what I came to Nashville to do.” The sultry, high maintenance
(her t-shirt’s words, not mine) Canadian has sex appeal and boyish attitude to
spare, and as the bulk of this new outing attests, her musical trade ain’t half