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RaeLynn

Me – 2015 (Republic)

Reviewed by Jeff Lincoln

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CDs by RaeLynn

Call it the Kellie Pickler model of success. Take one perky blonde persona, throw in some aw-shucks Southern charm and top it off with a throwback singing style to charm your way onto a game show. It sure worked well for Racheal Lynn Woodward. While the native Texan -- then in her teens and now 20 - didn't win season two of The Voice, she certainly warmed her way into Blake Shelton's heart. He put her on his smash "Boys Round Here" and wife Miranda Lambert took her on tour. Next up is a bill with Rascal Flatts and Scotty McCreery. It's all a great start for someone who hoped to be a Disney actress.

Raelynn's eponymously and cheekily named EP "Me" serves as a CD sampler more than a crafted artistic venture. We get a somewhat stale (2012) single, in the midtempo "Boyfriend" - it's a wry, but not mean, announcement that, like it or not, she's going to take your man. The best song of the five-set is the more current single, "God Made Girls." It's done with the modern country flash of the big chorus, but you could sing it with a washtub and a kazoo, and still not get it out of your head. Some might bristle at the lyrics about the female role to wear "the pretty skirts." But later lyrics capture aspects of the feminine mystique pretty elegantly: "He (God) needed something soft and loud and sweet and proud/But tough enough to break a heart/Something beautiful, unbreakable, that lights up in the dark." Songs like this are a refreshing palette cleanser when one has overdosed, as the radio has, on Bro Country.

One final highlight is "Better Do It," which takes that (watch-out) country/hip-hop combination and actually pulls it off. A millennial who grew up on rap is far better suited for hick-hop than a guy in his 40s (but keep trying, Colt Ford). One of the enchanting things about Raelyn's music is it's the type of songs she and her friends might actually listen to (she co-wrote them all).

But the inexplicable thing about this release is it's an undersize EP, and still somehow didn't have room for the songs Raelynn's actively marketing. She has two other singles being shopped now ("Always Sing" and "For a Boy") that aren't on it. So buyer beware, if those are the songs you want. One would think the current work would have the current work. Maybe some youthful lack of focus and trying to do everything at once is in play. Still, there's plenty of evidence that this appetizer proves worthy of a full course meal.