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Chely Wright

Let Me In – 1997 (MCA)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

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CDs by Chely Wright

During her two-album stint on Polydor, Chely Wright always seemed poised to break into country stardom. She never had a big hit, though, and when Polydor shut its doors, Wright was left without a record deal.

Now she's on MCA, and for the first five masterfully crafted songs, this appears to be a country-pop gem. The first single, "Shut Up and Drive," simmers with a combination of sympathy and quiet urgency until Wright wails demandingly on the chorus, "I'm the voice you never listen to/And I had to break your heart to make you see." Even better is the Matraca Berg-Gary Harrison-Jeff Hanna composition, "Norma Jean's Guitar," in which the singer imagines the history of a 1950 Gibson that she bought in a pawn shop.

But then the music starts to go downhill with "Just Another Heartache," sounding like filler for a Lorrie Morgan album. Wright's vocals are always warm and sweet with a slight twang. Here's hoping she comes up with better songs next time out.