A Few Questions

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A Few Questions
Studio album by Clay Walker
Released September 9, 2003 (2003-09-09)
Recorded 2003 at The Sound Mountain, Emerald Entertainment, Ocean Way Nashville, The Money Pit, Blackbird Studio & Loud Studios, Nashville, TN[1]
Genre Country
Length 49:30
Label RCA Nashville
Producer Jimmy Ritchey
Clay Walker
Clay Walker chronology
Christmas
(2002)
A Few Questions
(2003)
Fall
(2007)
Singles from A Few Questions
  1. "A Few Questions"
    Released: April 28, 2003
  2. "I Can't Sleep"
    Released: January 5, 2004
  3. "Jesus Was a Country Boy"
    Released: July 5, 2004

A Few Questions is country music singer Clay Walker's eighth album. It was released September 9, 2003. The album reached #23 on Billboard magazine's album chart. Released from this album were the singles "A Few Questions" and "I Can't Sleep", both of which reached Top Ten on the Hot Country Songs charts. "Jesus Was a Country Boy" reached #31 on the same chart. This was also Walker's only album for the RCA label.

"I Can't Forget Her" was recorded and released by Dierks Bentley on his 2009 album Feel That Fire.

Background[edit]

In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, Walker stated about the album, "There's no safety net in this music, I’m dangerous right now because I feel I've got nothing to lose. I'm coming out swinging."[2] In an interview with The Arizona Daily Star Walker said, "I feel like it is by far the most important album of my career, this is without a question the best record I've ever made. Everything just clicked for me in the studio, everywhere. It clicked in looking for the songs. The photo shoot went great. It just seemed like everything fell in place. It seemed natural."[3]

In another interview prior to the album's release, Walker mentioned, "I think I enjoy myself even more now and I realize that it's important to make great music, the best you can, it's what the fans deserve."[4] Walker mentioned in an interview with Country Weekly, "This is the most introspective album I've ever made. It really gives people a good look at me - and what I'm thinking. I'm so proud of this record. I've had apprehensions on previous albums. I was fearful that people wouldn't like certain songs. I can honestly say I have no fears about any song on this CD. All of them fit me really well and there's not one thing I would do differently on any song. The album is absolutely the best I can do at this point in my life. I feel like I'm singing better than I ever have. There's a lot of maturity and strength in my voice."[5]

Walker told The Dallas Morning News, "I love soul music, one of my favorite songs of all time is Earl Thomas Conley's 'Holding Her and Loving You.' I recorded that on my Live, Laugh, Love album. That was the beginning of me finding myself in the studio. This record captures that. It embodies it from beginning to end. It's not just one song this time. I finally made a record that I can look back on and say I wouldn't change a ... thing. The lyrics are part of who I am. I really can't think of many lines in these songs that don't fit me."[6] Walker told Country France, "The RCA album is by far the most diverse album that I’ve ever made and it gives people a really good look at what I’m about. I think this album probably symbolizes me best. This album is very special." He also stated, "In the new RCA album there’s a lot of emotion and a lot of my heart went into this album and it’s something that I think I’ll look back on in 10, 20 years and say, “I’m really proud of that particular one”. And you hope that each album you make is better than the last, but this one would definitely make a statement. It will be different from the albums that we made before in some ways. There are some songs that I think will definitely get a rise out of people."[7]

During another interview with Country Weekly Walker stated, "I've had a great ride, but by no means do I feel like I'm finished. I've got a lot to prove. Great quarterbacks don't get good until their seventh or eighth year. So this is my seventh album. I'm thinking, 'Hey, I know the plays, I know the defenses -- I can throw it deep if I want to!" Walker also said, "The wolves will always eat the weak ones. But they better bring a big damn plate if they're gonna eat me!"[8]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "A Few Questions"   Adam Wheeler, Phillip Moore, Ray Scott 3:46
2. "Everybody Needs Love"   John Rich, Josh Leo 3:43
3. "Sweet Sun Angel"   Greg Barnhill, Kris Bergsnes, Jeremy Stover 3:41
4. "Jesus Was a Country Boy"   Clay Walker, Rivers Rutherford 3:17
5. "I Can't Sleep"   Walker, Chely Wright 4:02
6. "Coming Back Again"   Gordon Kennedy, Wayne Kirkpatrick, Keith Urban 3:22
7. "Heaven, Leave the Light On"   Trey Bruce, Cory Mayo 4:00
8. "I'm in the Mood for You"   Rutherford 3:41
9. "When She's Good, She's Good"   Robert Boyd, Rutherford 3:33
10. "This Is What Matters"   Casey Beathard, James LeBlanc 3:34
11. "Countrified"   Kip Raines, Jeffrey Steele 3:34
12. "I Don't Want to Know"   Kim Tribble, Tammy Hyler 4:47
13. "I Can't Forget Her"   Bart Butler, Mark Rone, Frank Solesbee 4:23

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
About.com favorable[9]
AllMusic 2.5/5 stars[10]
Country Standard Time negative[11]
Dallas Morning News B+[12]
Grand Rapids Press 2.5/5 stars[13]
People Magazine 2.5/5 stars[14]
St. Louis Post-Dispatch mixed[15]
USA Today 2/5 stars[16]

Ralph Novak of People Magazine gave the album 2 and a half stars and wrote "The singer ponders a bit too much for his own good."[14] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic gave the album a mixed review writing " A Few Questions is a great success, but at its core, it just doesn't feel like a Clay Walker album, even if it is likely the start of the second phase of Walker's career, the phase where he is no longer a new traditionalist and is now an unabashed radio guy."[10]

Mandy Davis of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch also gave the album a mixed review writing, "Walker picks some solid material that meshes well with his twangy voice on songs such as "I'm in the Mood for You" and "I Don't Want to Know." But with 13 cuts on the CD, mediocre tracks such as "Sweet Sun Angel" and "Heaven Leave the Light On" drag the album down.[15] USA Today gave the album two stars out of five and wrote "With his track record of hits, why can't this guy find better material?"[16] Jack Leaver of The Grand Rapids Press gave the album two and a half stars and wrote "As Walker begins what appears to be a second phase of his career, longtime fans will welcome him back, and the singer should pick up a few new ones on the way."[13]

About.com gave the album a positive review and wrote, "It's been a while since Clay has been on top of the charts, and with the songs from "A Few Questions," I think that's just where we'll be seeing him once more."[9] Dan MacIntosh of Country Standard Time gave the album a negative review and wrote, "Before putting this release out, Walker's people should have given him a few more musical challenges. As it stands, "A Few Questions" finds Clay Walker sleep walking through a series of dreamy, yet unmemorable, tracks."[11] Mario Tarradell of The Dallas Morning News gave the album a B+ rating and wrote, "He's stretching vocally during a batch of songs that explore spirituality, the limits of love and the simple life. Tried-and-true subjects, but Mr. Walker's committed vocal performances help keep them fresh and passionate. A Few Questions plays like Mr. Walker has most of the answers."[12] Editors at CMT wrote, "Is the record any good? Yeah, it sure is, in that polished, radio-ready, crowd-pleasing kind of way. But even that approach is easy to screw up. Of course, no comeback is complete without a rambunctious song about country life, which in this case would be "Countrified."[17]

Personnel[edit]

As listed in liner notes.[1]

Musicians[edit]

Background vocalists[edit]

Production[edit]

  • Recorded By: Derek Bason and Clarke Schleicher
    • Assisted By: David Bryant, Scott Kidd, Rich Hanson, Eric Hellerman, Chris Ashburn and Leslie Richter
  • Additional Recording By: Rich Hanson at Loud Studios, Nashville, TN and Dan Workman at Sugar Hill Studios, Houston, TX
  • Mixed By: Clarke Schleicher at Loud Studios
    • Assisted By: Rich Hanson and Jake Burns
  • Digital Editing By: Jake Burns, Christopher Rowe and Eric Hellerman
  • Mastered By: John Mayfield at Mayfield Mastering
  • Production Coordinator: Mike "Frog" Griffith for The Sessions Agency
  • Art Direction: Shane Tarleton
  • Design: S. Wade Hunt
  • Photography: Sandra Johnson, Russ Harrington

Chart performance[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (2003) Peak
position
France SNEP Albums Top 150[18] 134
U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums 3
U.S. Billboard 200[19] 23

End of year charts[edit]

Chart (2003) Year-end
2003
US Billboard Top Country Albums[20] 74
Chart (2004) Year-end
2004
US Billboard Top Country Albums[21] 63

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b A Few Questions (CD). Clay Walker. RCA Records. 2003. RCA07863-67068. 
  2. ^ Clark, Michael D. Houston Chronicle For the record: `A Few Questions' from Clay Walker (26 June 2003)
  3. ^ Burch Cathalena E. The Arizona Daily Star Clay has elements of platinum as well (27 June 2003)
  4. ^ Prep-Nashville Notes Broadcast News (25 February 2004)
  5. ^ Holden, Larry Country Weekly Questions and Answers October 9th 2003
  6. ^ Tarradell, Mario The Dallas Morning News The molding of Clay A look at the things shaping Walker's outlook and career. (March 26, 2004)
  7. ^ "Clay Walker - Interview exclusif" (in French). Country-france.fr. Retrieved 2011-08-03. 
  8. ^ Country Weekly Going Deep - Surviving MS and the turmoil of the music biz, Clay Walker is back and on top of his game (August 12, 2003)
  9. ^ a b "A Few Questions - Clay Walker". Countrymusic.about.com. 2011-02-24. Retrieved 2011-08-03. 
  10. ^ a b Thomas, Stephen (2003-09-09). "A Few Questions - Clay Walker". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-08-03. 
  11. ^ a b "Clay Walker - A Few Questions". Countrystandardtime.com. 2007-10-23. Retrieved 2011-08-03. 
  12. ^ a b Tarradell, Mario The Dallas Morning News CD Briefs (September 7, 2003)
  13. ^ a b Leaver, Jack The Grand Rapids Press Dido's new tunes are fine, as far as they go (8 October 2003)
  14. ^ a b Novak, Ralph. "A Few Questions (Music)." People 60.16 (2003): 54. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 14 Apr. 2011.
  15. ^ a b Davis, Mandy St. Louis Post-Dispatch CD Review - Clay Walker (11 September 2003)
  16. ^ a b USA Today After five years, Seal breaks the surface again ; And June Carter Cash's final album blossoms (9 September 2003)
  17. ^ CMT New Releases: Covering Cline's Classics (September 9, 2003)
  18. ^ "France Albums Top 150 – Issue Date: Saturday January 15, 2005". Acharts.us. 2005-01-15. Retrieved 2011-08-03. 
  19. ^ "US Charts: John Mayer Gets First Number One". Tourdates.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-08-03. 
  20. ^ Billboard 2003 YEAR END CHARTS TOP COUNTRY ALBUMS (December 27, 2003)
  21. ^ Billboard 2004 YEAR END CHARTS TOP COUNTRY ALBUMS (December 25, 2004)