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LeAnn Rimes

Family – 2007 (Curb)

Reviewed by Rick Bell

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CDs by LeAnn Rimes

As remarkable as LeAnn Rimes's career has been, no one's ever accused 25-year-old elder stateswoman of being earthy and gritty. Until now.

Goodbye "Blue," adios "How Do I Live," welcome to Rimes's Bonnie Raitt-esque "Good Friend and a Glass of Wine." Call her 14-song "Family" a coming-out party, a baring of the soul, a declaration of who she is and how she got here. There's a new woman in Nashville, and she's holding nothing back.

"Upper Hand" is a swampy backwoods blues rocker while "Nothin' Better to Do" pulses as Rimes, who helped write 12 of the 14 songs, playfully croons of hiking up her skirt for the boys against the protests of mama against the backdrop of a humming keyboard. "What I Can Not Change" swirls amidst a lonely cello and piano as she gently sings of life's past and present, adding an autobiographical phrase "pleasing the world is easier than pleasing myself."

Rimes's music has belied her age since was anointed the next Patsy Cline at 13 years old. Now she's finally fitting into that phrase of being "grown up." Except this time, it's on her terms, not ours.