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Steel Magnolia

Steel Magnolia – 2011 (Big Machine)

Reviewed by Andrew Greenhalgh

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A television appearance used to signal that you've arrived as musician. Now, it's become the launching pad. Over the past several years, television shows have paved the road to success for artists like Chris Daughtry, Kellie Pickler, and Carrie Underwood. Joshua Scott Jones and Meghan Linsey, better down as the duo, Steel Magnolia, are the latest to toss their hats into the ring after winning CMT's "Can You Duet?" The result is a self-titled album that possesses something a little bit country, a little bit soul and quite a bit in between.

Radio fans have most likely already keyed into the group's hit, Keep On Lovin' You yet this duo is more than a one-hit wonder. Album opener Ooh La La demonstrates some nice progressive country and potential crossover flavor (not to mention Linsey's killer pipes) while tracks like Rainbow and Eggs Over Easy showcase warm and honest songwriting with the reminder that "the sun always shines through the rain."

And that, ultimately, seems to be Steel Magnolia's general theme. There are tales of love (Homespun Love, Just By Being You (Halo and Wings)), tales of lovelorn frustration (Edge of Goodbye, Not Tonight) and more but each ends with a hope of something good on the other side.

Add those positive thoughts to a passionate and beyond their years sonic maturity (undeniably due to uber-producer Dann Huff's involvement), albeit one that toes a more modern country line, "Steel Magnolia" is one sign of a promising 2011.