Thursday, October 13, 2005

"Room To Breathe" - Reba McEntire

Reba, TV Star, Broadway Performer, Country Singer. Reba came into the country music business in 1980 when a new breed of country singers were trying to bring traditional country music back to Nashville, in the Ninety's Reba joined the hosts of country singers turning to a country pop, more contemporary type music, even doing a CD of pop covers. Reba hasn't done a studio CD since 1999 with her "So Good Together" CD, which is a very good contemporary country piece of work.
Reba's new album is very eclectic, containing a wide variety of material. In Reba's words "This CD feels autobiographical to me because it has every type of music I've ever recorded. There is everything from hard-core country on one end, to contemporary on the other with bluegrass, gospel and jitterbug in the middle."
Simply a great production (though overdone at times with all the synth) by Reba, Buddy Lannon and Norro Wilson. Reba's vocals sound fresh and emotive and for the most part, a great selection of songs. It has a great tonal quality to it, very easy on the ears, very rich and natural instrument sounds. Kudos to Hank Williams (no relation) of Mastermix for a great mastering job. He's heading towards being one of the best and most sought after mastering engineers in Nashville, especially since the sad passing of "Golden Ears" Denny Purcell. Real great rustic tones on the acoustic instruments.
The standout traditional country song on the album is "I'm Gonna Take That Mountain", the first radio single. This song soars with it's great 3 part country harmony and the rich mix of fiddles, mandolin ,banjo and country instrumentation. This song is in a league of it's own and unfortunately, the only super traditional country song on the album. "Sky Full Of Angels" is a great acoustic Christian Country song with a real bouncy feel to it and some great background vocals, some nice dobro and a real nice rich texture to the music (One of my favorites).
"Somebody" is a great country ballad, done in a country fashion with some great mandolin and acoustic guitar- a song that has a good story to it that draws you in. "Once You've Learned To Be Lonely" is an incredibly beautiful, sad acoustic country song with the help of Alison Krauss and Dan Tyminski. (Another Favorite) It has a message once again that draws you into the song. I wish that Alison Krauss's fiddle work was louder in the mix and also the backup vocals, you wouldn't recognize who the singers were unless you read the credits. Still a great song. "Moving Oleta" is a real heartbreaker that addresses the subject of an older husband dealing with moving his wife into a nursing home, this is just a great song sung with a ton of passion, great backup vocals (Another of this reviewers favorites.)
Another song that I like a lot is "He Gets That From Me", a song that deals with a wife telling about attributes her son gets from her and also from her husband, another heartbreak song with a message. Love the way the song winds up about the son saying he misses his dad and the wife, missing her ex-husband says He gets that from me. Great song with some great hooks.
The other six songs are mostly typical mid-tempo Reba type songs (one,a duet with Vince Gill) that are pretty good depending on your tastes. Overall, I found this album to be very refreshing, well done and shows that Reba is still very much in the business of making good music, in her busy life.
Copyright 2004
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