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Cryner gets a second chance

By Joel Bernstein, March 1996

Page 2...

And of course, there's live performances to do. "I'm just getting a band back together," she says. "My old band members have gone to fame and glory without me. We're going to do some George Jones dates. I'm not a real performer yet. I don't really know how to relate to an audience yet. I want to spend some time with more intimate crowds first." The first time Cryner ever performed, she opened for George Strait.

"I did get to see George and Tammy perform once at Fan Fair," Cryner says. "Tammy was one of the people to take me under her wing when I came here. I performed at a label party in a tent. Everybody told me Tammy was enthralled. 'I've never heard anyone phrase like Jones in my life' she told me. We've been friends ever since."

"Waylon is another one who was really good to me," Cryner says. "I got my first telegram from him. He'd heard my CD and sent me a telegram. I didn't believe it was really from him. I had to call the telegraph office to make sure. I tend to gravitate towards the older singers. I don't hang out as much with the younger group. When I was a child, I was embarrassed to hang out with the kids."

"The more country it is, the more I sound like Buck Owens or George Jones. I grew up...listening to Buck, Buck, Buck. You have a tendency to imitate that to which you're most exposed to. I loved Hank Williams too. I even broke into tears when I first heard Roy Acuff sing 'Wabash Cannonball' at The Opry. When I was a little girl, my grandmother would play that song over and over again."

For all her love of traditional country, Cryner usually has a different sound to her own recordings. Many of her tracks have a swamp/funk feel that brings to mind Bobbie Gentry. And when she does "Son Of A Preacher Man," she evokes Dusty Springfield so well you wish Dusty had given country music a real shot. There's a more contemporary singer that Cryner frequently evokes. This woman's name pops up so often in Cryner's conversation, in so many contexts, that she's obviously something of a role model in more ways than one. That's K.T. Oslin, whose own music is more pop, but still conveys a similar musical flavor. There's also a similar lyrical flavor as they both thrive on songs about strong, independent women. "K.T. was great but she left country music," Cryner says. "She didn't feel she belonged."

Cryner hopes MCA and country radio will allow her to avoid a similar fate.

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