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Laura Bryna

Trying to Be Me – 2008 (Equity)

Reviewed by Jacquilynne Schlesier

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Kickstart Country Standard Time to Nashville

CDs by Laura Bryna

Newcomer Laura Bryna's background includes as much acting as it does music, a history that shows up clearly in her debut CD. The vocals have a theatrical quality with lots of character in the phrasing. Bryna uses that to good effect on some tracks - it works well with the 'sassy chick' vibe on "Same Dog" and "No Man's Land." She also manages to give life to a bland hotel room, "Room 228."

On the other hand, tearjerkers like "640 Battlefield Drive" and "Make a Wish" should manage to wring emotions without the extra catch in her voice to signal that these are sad, important songs. Even more out of place is the uptempo, catchy "Maybe She Fell." It carries a solid message about spotting the signs of domestic violence in a stranger, but doesn't seem to take itself seriously.

The musical tracks are generic; at best, they don't distract from Bryna's performance. Most of the lyrics sound like songs you've heard before. The album seems calculated to be radio friendly, but the only thing that sets it apart from what's already on the radio is Bryna's showy style, and that's as often a minus as it is a plus.