What is a song worth? Is it the .99 download fee? Is it measured by the time the artist put into the recording? It’s a nearly impossible task to add a monetary value to art, but the new song “If Money Talks (It Ain’t on Speakin’ Terms With Me)” co-written by Daryl Stevenett. The country tune is a gem, giving the listener a mighty reason to fall deeper into Cross’ discography and other artistic endeavors. An author, an actor and a writer, Cross is a triple-threat.
Besides his clever wordsmith ways, Cross’ “If Money Talks” is a great song to mosey around. You start to listen to it, and like wearing in a pair of cowboy boots, you forget what life was like before the boots weren’t a perfect fit. Cross’ voice meets in the spaces between Kenny Rogers, Larry Gatlin, Ronnie Milsap, Eric Clapton and Bruce Springsteen. He’s nestled in a world of his own devising that seems to not give him any wins. A working man’s still in prison, and the banker holds the key, if money talk, it ain’t sayin’ much to me, he sings. Later on he sings, it ain’t on speaking terms with me. After a few listens, I wondered how much of the character in his voice is also of his own making? I surmise that it’s not a character and his genuine voice is being portrayed, not him acting. I truly believe Cross’ songwriting in “If Money Talks” has him right up there with Bob Dylan, Kristian Bush (Billy Pilgrim, Sugarland) and Joni Mitchell.
What we have here are normal working folks – neighbors, taking care of one another. Think small-town and Love Your Neighbor as Yourself. This is very small-t…
He’s clever and the word play is even more engaging when you bring into the picture the backing music. The resonating guitar, sounding like a steel guitar, giving it more of a country tone than blues. It’s a tough call, though, as the argument could be said for the opposite. The guitar makes the song more palpable, as if the listener is there in the studio during the recording. It’s sharp. The percussion is and bass rhythms are spotless. Again, the country vibe is strong here and the song saunters into the southern hemisphere, an Americana-esque tone. The song’s violin arrangement is moving. The sound reminded me of something out of a Ken Burns’ documentary, furthering Cross’ point of the oppression and weight on his shoulders that he carries.
Nothing about “If Money Talks” screams opulence. It’s a poignant song . It’s also even more fitting when you hear more about Cross’ background. A former member of the group Whiskey Rose, Cross’ emerging career was cut short when a train accident took his leg. For five years, his job was to get better, rehabilitate and recover. His inspiring story traces its way to his newest track. Not as much as a shed of a tear, not a note of unhappiness, “If Money Talks” tells it like it is. And as Cross sings, seems what I am is what I am, is all I’ll ever be, then Cross’ realization makes the richest in the room.
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