You’re on the right road if it gets you where you wanna go, Steve Holy sings near the end of the first track off his new album, Love Don’t Run, due in stores this week. The song, “If It Gets You Where You Wanna Go,” is a pounding ode to individual freedom complete with lyrics full of fast cars, slow dances and giving in to the occasional urge to get lost. Though it’s been five years since Steve’s last full-length studio album, Love Don’t Run illustrates that the Dallas native knows exactly where he’s headed, with an open and honest collection featuring ten finely-crafted new songs.
Love Don’t Run, Steve’s third studio album and the second produced by Lee Miller, is pulled together with the tenacity of holding strong to firm ideas. Throughout the album, discussions on steadfast love (title track “Love Don’t Run” and the charging cut “Wonders”), the true essence of being a hero (“Heart of a Hero”) and admitting one’s faults (“Let the Sun Shine In”) poignantly display the willingness to stand up for strong beliefs.
This is gonna hurt/ This is gonna hurt like hell, Steve knowingly sings on his current Top 20 hit, “Love Don’t Run,” before adding, Baby, believe that I’m not leavin’/ You couldn’t give me one good reason. The driving piano chords and powerful percussion punctuate Steve’s message on the soaring power ballad. “Let The Sun Shine In,” the album’s heaviest song with palm-muted guitars and a minor key chord progression, might also be the best. Steve’s voice is wise as he sings, Just remember, it’s the cracks in your heart that let the sun shine in, with candor and an uplifting message.
A handful of lighthearted songs throughout the record call to mind Steve’s 2006 No. 1 hit “Brand New Girlfriend.” The humorous “Hauled Off And Kissed Me,” a twang-heavy, uptempo tune with searing slide guide guitar runs with the idea of an aggressive woman ‘pucker punching’ him with a kiss that starts some PDA with the intensity of a barroom brawl. And “Like I’m Famous” celebrates a loving woman who adores a good ‘ol boy just like he’s ‘Hollywood.’
The album closes with two songs listeners may be familiar with. Steve offers his interpretation of Kris Kristofferson’s classic “Help Me Make It Through The Night,” leaning heavily traditional with sad pedal steel and moving piano fills. Steve’s voice sounds comfortable being set up front in the production while he sings, I don’t care what’s right or wrong/ I won’t try to understand with vintage honky tonk ache. And in a fitting sequence, the record then ends with an acoustic version of his first No. 1 hit, “Good Morning Beautiful.” Steve’s voice sounds natural and at ease moving in and out of the chord progression, rising and falling with nothing but acoustic guitars, dobro, mandolin and fiddle. On this song and throughout Love Don’t Run, Steve’s delivery works to convey what he feels deeply, and though songs range in their emotion, the message is simple – Steve is right where he needs to be.