When you look around mainstream country music today, the male country artists are different from decades before. The cowboy hats have been replaced with backwards baseball caps and wear jeans sagging off them instead of jeans that actually fit. The male artists dance around on stage at concerts and rely on “bells and whistles” to entertain the audience. But not Doug Briney. No, Mr. Briney is a throwback to the yesteryears of country music. He wears a cowboy hat, is a family man and has a deep, baritone voice that entertains the crowd. In 2014 he won the IMEA Best Video Award and was a nomination for a 2014 AMG Heritage Award and 2014 Nashville Universe Award for Best Male. Today I look at his third single, “Pretty Big Deal,” from his Top 10 Roots Music Report album Super Country Cowboy.
Right away you’ll notice this is a pure country song. The steel guitar is loud and proud through the song. There’s also a healthy dose of the fiddle in there too. It puts you in mind of the country music you would hear in the 90s. It’s nothing fancy, but many times less is more when it comes to instrumentation in country music. There’s no need for fancy machines and remixes to make a great song. As they say all you need is three chords and the truth to make a good country song. So I applaud Briney for the spot-on instrumentation.
The song itself is about the joys of being a father. Briney sings about not being rich and famous and not being “outstanding in his field.” However when he’s at home with his kids they view him as a pretty big deal. All he has to do kill a spider, push them on a swing or get them a pizza and he’s viewed as pretty great in his kids eyes. The song comes across as real and sincere because it is. Briney is a father and you can tell he sings this from experience. This song celebrates the role of dads in a kids life and it’s great to hear a song for once that celebrates parenthood. It feels like I haven’t heard a country song for a while with this theme.
Briney’s weathered voice combined with the steel guitar makes for a great combination. Then you have a song like “Pretty Big Deal” which is right in Briney’s wheelhouse. He’s simply singing what he knows and it’s something many artists out there need to keep in mind when cutting songs. The sincerity more than anything makes me like this song. It’s real and human. It doesn’t feel cliché, artificial and fake like a lot of mainstream country songs today that go for the down-to-earth angle. This is a solid country song for the everyday man performed by the everyday man. “Pretty Big Deal” is a pretty good song.