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Rebecca Lynn Howard

Rebecca Lynn Howard – 2000 (MCA Nashville)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Rebecca Lynn Howard

Rebecca Lynn Howard has a voice uniquely suited to sounding both warm and powerful - sometimes even at the same time. Here on her debut she has plenty of opportunities to reveal these and other fine vocal qualities.

It should come as no surprise to find superstar soul guitarist Steve Cropper listed on the credits, since Howard also knows how to slip comfortably into a churchy diva voice. Especially impressive is how she slides up and down between notes on the gently swaying "Out Here In The Water."

Howard sounds topnotch throughout, but many songs still leave something to be desired. Even "Melancholy Blue," co-written by the usually reliable Harlan Howard, lacks the necessary pull to tug at the old heart strings. Nevertheless, "Was It As Hard To Be Together," a song Howard co-wrote with Carl Jackson, works as a barroom weeper. Of course, it's hard to fail when you have the strong accompaniment of Buddy Miller singing along. There's also a sweetness to Howard's performance when she carries "You're Not A Memory Yet" with a quiet little girl's voice.

The songwriting here is not all bad - it's just nothing special. Give this girl material she can really dig her teeth into, though, and she'll be dangerous.