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Josie Kreuzer

As Is – 1999 (She Devil)

Reviewed by Jon Johnson

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CDs by Josie Kreuzer

An interesting stylistic shift from the San Diego-based Josie Kreuzer on her second album finds her changing her songwriting focus, adding steel guitar, and transforming herself into something akin to the female Wayne Hancock. While Kreuzer hasn't abandoned rockabilly by any stretch, there's certainly a stronger emphasis on a hillbilly and western swing sound, with "Just Lookin' Pretty" and "I Hope It Doesn't Rain Today" standing out.

As was also the case with her debut, Kreuzer's only real problem remains her voice, which has a tendency to go flat at times, particularly when she sustains a note. Part of the fault here lies not at the feet of Josie Kreuzer, singer, but with Josie Kreuzer, producer. Kreuzer can sing, but in spite of how the rest of the band sounds on the album (and it sounds very good), she's simply not the best judge of how her own voice sounds on tape and would be well-advised to bring aboard an outside producer next time around. Still, though Kreuzer comes off as a weaker singer than some of her contemporaries, her songwriting skills are mature and her backing band here is top-notch, with steel guitarist Dana Duplan and upright bassist Jeff Kraus standing out.

Kreuzer still hasn't made the album that shows what she's really capable of, but she remains well worth watching. (Available from 619-229-9338, E-Mail: shedevrecs@aol.com)