Trent Tomlinson's success has come when the singer has thrown his scarred heart and body into a song without worrying about what people will think. 'One Wing in Fire' lived on the pain he put into the performance, and in a lesser, more humorous way so did 'Drunker Than You' in 2005. His new single, 'A Man Without a Woman,' is explained in the title, and one would think, given his ups and downs in life, it'd be another wound he could share with fans. Somehow it falls flat.

Part of the reason for this is the listener struggles to figure out how to feel toward the man Tomlinson sings about. The first verse goes, "Twenty-five just yesterday / Partied too hard slept too late / Poured water on the Frosted Flakes / 'Cause the red-cap milk's gone sour / With a pounding head he works all day long / When he gets off / He don't go home / Puts on a little glovebox cologne / And heads off to happy hour."

We follow the man's broken path through life; he never really redeems himself, nor do we meet a woman that's right for him. "That's a man without a woman / Lonely and lost, no use at all / A boat without an ocean / Talk about somethin' that ain't much good for nothin' / That's a man without a woman," Tomlinson sings during the chorus.

In the final verse, the man is 81 and dying but keeps "wondering what the good Lord's waitin' on." The song doesn't evoke sympathy, as the old timer sort of built his own bed to sleep on. More likely we're supposed to listen and then appreciate the good women in our lives, but Tomlinson's song fails to provide a character for us to appreciate. There's no definitive moment to connect to this story, and from the sound of the singer's vapid performance he's not connecting either.

Tomlinson is a good singer with a lifetime of stories and experiences to share with fans when he's ready. He's got a unique way of trailing the beat (heard early on here) and just the slightest bit of gravel in his delivery. The pieces are there for him to come back with a few hits, but he'll need to find a more convincing song.

2 Stars

Listen to Trent Tomlinson, 'A Man Without a Woman'

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