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Leslie Satcher

Love Letters – 2001 (Warner)

Reviewed by Bill Silvers

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CDs by Leslie Satcher

Leslie Satcher's debut is an impressive collection of expressively sung, well-crafted songs. Of course, the songcraft isn't surprising, given her successful track record as a songwriter with 80 covers by artists like Vince Gill, Reba McEntire, Pam Tillis and Sara Evans.

Ballads predominate with the lovely opening track "Love Letters From Old Mexico" (with backing vocals from Alison Krauss and Emmylou Harris) and the heartache of "Goin' Down Hard" both demonstrating the intelligence and emotional understanding of the best of Satcher's work here. The ballads rely on acoustic guitar and touches of steel guitar and dobro, with strings well-used to add depth and emphasis. "Slow Way Home" gets there a little too slowly, but "It Can't Be Good" picks up the pace nicely.

Satcher uses a bigger, more conventionally rockin' sound with "A Man With Eighteen Wheels," "I Will Survive" and the final track "Texarkana," showing plenty of vocal strength to match the arrangements. The following, uncredited track 12 is a stark, haunting plea for racial tolerance reinforcing the depth of the songwriting.