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Martina McBride

Greatest Hits – 2001 (RCA)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Martina McBride

Martina McBride may be slight of stature, but first and foremost when it comes to her musical career, she's incredibly strong of voice. That has always come through loud and clear both in concert and in her recordings.

McBride's voice always has been one filled with emotion and expression in belting out song after song. To her credit, she has had enjoyed the knack of picking well-written songs well-suited to her styles. Of course, her career song remains the well written (by Gretchen Peters) and performed "Independence Day," particularly poignant now. The first half dozen songs - including "My Baby Loves Me" and "Life #9" - were earlier in her career and are far more country oriented than later material. Though no songs are included from it, McBride's debut was her most country steeped effort.

In fact, the Kansas native has veered more and more towards a pop sound, underscored by "Valentine," and "A Broken Wing." The songs themselves are not bad. Neither is the performance. They're just not very country oriented.

Of the new songs, McBride stretches out on "When God-Fearin' Women Get the Blues" is more of an uptempo blues-driven romp. "Where Would You Be" is string-filled and more of an adult contemporary outing. "Concrete Angel" and "Blessed" mine the same territory. None have a country bent.

McBride has not been one to stand still musically throughout her six previous albums, but throughout her voice has stood tall.