James Wesley has a real feel for the life and struggles of the blue-collar American. His new song 'Thank a Farmer' is similar to his previous Top 30 hit 'Real' in its honest, no-nonsense approach. The worst thing a singer can do with a song like either of these is come off as contrived. Wesley is a long way away from being accused of that. 

The title summarizes the message of the mid-tempo country song. It's a traditional arrangement with a few rock guitars added for sizzle. The lyrics will bring a tear to the eyes of families that have spent years in the field. City-born country fans may be somewhat less committed.

"From the fuel that fills your truck / To the coffee in your cup / Don't thank the corner store / Or that early morning rush / Thank a farmer," Wesley sings to open the song. The verses that focus on the commodities that farmers provide every American are more effective than those that share stories about farmers providing a safe haven for teenagers doing teenager things.

"And for this shirt on my back / And these boots on my feet / And them tank top wearin' country girls / And them old skin-tight bluejeans / I thank a farmer," he sings to end the second verse. The touch of adolescence is cute, but it dulls the more important statement.

A great chorus re-hones the blade: "I still believe in amber waves of grain / Man on his knees praying for rain / That grew this country strong / And keep us moving on / They get tougher as their lives keep gettin' harder / Oh I think it's time / We all thank a farmer."

'Thank a Farmer' is an original. Kansas-born Wesley carries it with his strong voice, but moreso with his humble approach. Nowhere does the singer strain to become the star of this song. He's more the courier -- albeit a very talented one.

3.5 Stars

Listen to James Wesley, 'Thank a Farmer'

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