REVIEW: Kayden Gordon/Bob McGilpin — Achieving is Succeeding (SINGLE)

Colin Jordan
3 min readFeb 27, 2024

Mixing Kayden Gordon’s songwriting and Bob McGilpin’s performance together results in pure country music magic. “Achieving Is Succeeding” may have a rather prosaic title, but its lyrics are full of genuine homespun life lessons. Kayden has carved out a burgeoning reputation in country music circles thanks to “The Kayden Gordon Show, Today’s Best Country Mix” which now enjoys a reach of over 150 radio stations. The two-hour syndicated broadcast mixes current and classic country alongside interviews with a wide variety of guests.

Bob McGilpin is a time-tested veteran of the genre. He’s the owner and operator of McMusic Sound Studios, a producer and engineer, and has a recording career reaching back into the late 1970s with three Number 1 dance singles on Billboard’s Dance charts to his credit. He brings instant credibility to an already first-class composition thanks to his weathered yet warm vocals and superlative supporting instrumentation.

The track opens with an easy mid-tempo amble before McGilpin’s voice makes its first appearance. His spoken-word delivery is a throwback to an earlier era in country music history and strikes a quaint yet welcoming vibe. However, he breaks out into full singing once we reach the first refrain. McGilpin has a welcoming tone, and his singing comes across with a wise and knowing wink accompanying each line.

The arrangement gets under your skin without any fanfare. The chief highlight of the instrumentation is the inclusion of a classic pedal steel guitar sound lacing throughout the song’s body. Pedal steel is a staple of this type of song, but the high-caliber playing nevertheless distinguishes itself. The light heartbeat of the song’s 4/4 drumming gives “Achieving is Succeeding” a consistently even keel that serves as the song’s foundation.

Gordon and McGilpin’s contributions give the song a definite sense of structure. You won’t find any holes in this song. It has a strong sense of inevitability that’s predictable without ever sounding trite. The unquestionable highlight arrives with the song’s chorus. It ties together what we hear during the verses with a light yet undeniable exclamation point that further defines the performance.

The lyrical content is deceptively simple. Many of the best traditional country songs cut from this sort of cloth are instructive in nature. This doesn’t mean preachy. Instead, the lyrics for “Achieving is Succeeding” clarify home truths that listeners already intuitively understand rather than purporting some great heretofore unacknowledged revelation about life. The gentle uplift of the refrain crystallizes the song’s message in a conversational manner that lingers with you long after the song is over.

This improbable mix of a young songwriter and veteran performer pays off handsomely for listeners. Kayden Gordon understands the true spirit of traditional country music better than most while being able to write for contemporary audiences with relevant, vivid language. Gordon’s songwriting talents shine even brighter in the hands of a gifted interpreter such as Bob McGilpin. “Achieving is Succeeding” doesn’t remake the songwriting wheel, but it doesn’t have to. It moves the spirit and engages the mind. That’s more than enough.

Colin Jordan

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Colin Jordan

Graduate: McNeese State University, Avid Beekeeper, Deep Sea Diver & Fisherman, Horrible Golfer