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Meredith Edwards

Reach – 2001 (Mercury)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Meredith Edwards

Many in Nashville are salivating at Meredith Edwards career prospects since she's buddy-buddy with Lance Bass of *N SYNC and potentially overflowing with teen-appeal. But real music fans will also be pleased to know that Edwards, with her not so slight Mississippi Southern accent and strong singing voice, also has a great deal of talent.

The single "A Rose Is A Rose" is just a plain fine song about an underdog overcoming unpromising social circumstances, and is sung well here. But "The Bird Song," with its bubbling banjo-assisted accompaniment, is where Edwards truly shines. Like the Dixie Chicks also do so well, this tune mixes traditional elements into an otherwise straight pop song, resulting in a winning formula that never sounds outdated. With "A Beautiful Mess," Edwards employs a conversational singing style to its self-deprecating lyric, and ends up with a performance similar to a smoother Tanya Tucker. Granted, the majority of Edwards' music is pop-country, usually a negative mark, but there is a natural soulful flavor to it that easily lifts it above the overly-sweet sugar rush of today's pop radio.

The Nashville brass may be drooling over Edwards' demographic sales graphs, but the smarter ones will be putting their money on her voice.