As much as us hardcore music nerds on the Internet are loathe to admit, the truth is that for something to have a chance at being accepted by mainstream country radio, it's required to have a considerable amount of commercial appeal. That means uber-traditional sounds and extremely complex songwriting are pretty much out. Given those constraints, an album like Trent Tomlinson's 2006 debut Country is My Rock is exactly what modern mainstream country could (and should) sound like. It's traditional enough to register as unabashed country music, but accessible enough to not scare away a general audience. It's also substantive enough to hold the attention of those seeking depth and storytelling in their music, but melodious enough to appeal to casual music fans just looking for pleasant background noise on their morning commute. It's in this way that this album reminds me of much of the better of '90s country music: widely appealing without sacrificing its identity or intelligence.
The preceding paragraph is in no way meant to imply that Country is My Rock is only good when compared to other modern era mainstream releases. It's a highly satisfying album by any standard. With only one or two exceptions which we'll get to later, the quality of the songwriting on this album is very high. Trent had a hand in writing every track on the album, proving his aptitude as a tunesmith. His voice is a little on the thin side, but he has a very likeable voice, and gets the most of his abilities. He is a skilled interpreter who is passionate and convincing in his performances.