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Susan Haynes

Susan Haynes – 2006 (Sony)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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Kickstart Country Standard Time to Nashville

CDs by Susan Haynes

Like many newcomers Susan Haynes emphasizes her vocal talents, and they are considerable. Haynes, a Georgia native, can belt it out, but that's not her strong suit.

Haynes shows mettle on the lead-off "Long Way to Memphis," courtesy of Al Anderson and Leslie Satcher, and goes very tender on "Not That Bad."

While some of the phrasing is clunky ("Bottle Rocket"), Haynes brings vocal chops to the table where she sounds like she means it. Nor are the vocals too smooth sounding. The pain is palpable in Haynes' delivery ("Being Gone," "I'd Rather Be in Love With You" and the closing "The Road Behind Me").

Producers Dann Huff and Mark Wright usually are wise to the fact of not overwhelming the softness of Haynes' voice with hard-edged guitars. In fact, acoustics often rule. Fiddle playing often fills in the gaps. But nor do they turn Haynes into something particularly unique. One imagines that any number of females singers could have turned in a similarly styled disc. Of course, only one album - for now only digitally available - into her career, that is excusable.

Fortunately she has a voice and enough quality material to carry her through here.