Singer-songwriter Josh Kelley is relying on the safety of the pool steps to slowly descend into country music. 'Georgia Clay,' the title track from his debut country album, gives listeners a taste of twang but doesn't stray too far from the one-time pop singer's roots. His follow-up single 'Gone Like That' takes Kelley and his fans another step deeper. So far, he's wisely avoided the cannonball approach that many crossover artists take in proclaiming their country street cred.

'Gone Like That' tells the story of a guy who runs into an ex-lover. Kelley conserves his words while revealing the plot's finer details: She left him. He's not over it. She looks amazing. He's not ready to talk. "Because it'd be hard to say hello to her / When she never said goodbye / It'd take every bit of strength I'd gained to not get lost / In those eyes," he sings.

It's a thin minority that hasn't been on the wrong end of heartbreak. One tries to pretend things are going well, while leaving hints that argue otherwise. Exaggerated laughter, avoided eye contact or flat out lying cover up raw emotions. Kelley doesn't describe these things, but his lyrics take us there nonetheless: "She came up on me like a flood / Wiped out everything I knew / Now I'm just barely treading water / Last thing I need to do / Is reach for you."

A steel guitar cuts back and forth across the song, never invading the narrative but adding just enough flavor to please country audiences. The chorus is catchy and relatable, which should make for greater radio success than he found with 'Georgia Clay.' "I can't take another gone like that / Can't take another hurt so bad that / I can't breath / I can't sleep / Don't wanna eat / And I won't take another where'd she go, can't / Take another all alone / Man, I want her back / But I can't take another gone like that," Kelley sings.

The performance is emotional, but not overwhelming. One believes Kelley is reaching for personal memories to tell the story, but perhaps a happy marriage to Katherine Heigl has dulled his pain. Fans with fresh scars will appreciate the song most, while the rest of us will enjoy it enough to quietly sing along.

Listen to Josh Kelley, 'Gone Like That'