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Anita Cochran

Back to You – 1997 (Warner)

Reviewed by Jon Johnson

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CDs by Anita Cochran

The debut album by Michigan multi-instrumentalist Anita Cochran leaves one in a quandry. Her guitar-playing, singing and songwriting are all top-notch by modern Nashville standards. The problem is with the phrase "modern Nashville standards."

Too much smacks of what Cochran seems to believe that Nashville wants to hear, rather than what she obviously has the talent to accomplish through her own instincts. This is a pleasant pop-country album; perhaps one that will even enjoy some measure of success based on current radio trends. And that's the saddest thing about "Back to You."

Cochran has fallen into the same old power ballad trap into which so many other talented young female singers seem to fall. In short, there really isn't much to set Cochran's album apart from a couple of dozen other young hopefuls releasing their debut albums this year. For every moment of hope like the "Ooh, Las Vegas"-ish "I Could Love a Man Like That," with some terrific James Burton-influenced guitar work, there are three or four generic moments like "Daddy Can You See Me" and the Steve Wariner duet, "What If I Said."

Cochran's name is one that you can probably count on hearing more of in the coming months. The question is whether it's a name that will be heard in association with her obvious talent, or if it will be in association with other successful, pleasant, but ultimately disposable artists.