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Joanie Keller

Sparks Are Gonna Fly – 2000 (Broken Bow)

Reviewed by Joel Bernstein

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CDs by Joanie Keller

In the 1970's, a lot of country music fans were complaining the music had become too pop. By the year 2000, that same '70's music sounds downright hillbilly compared to what's on the radio today. Nebraska native Joanie Keller has an album that often seems like one of those '70's records. It's too smooth and polished to grab the hard-core honkytonkers, but it's often too country for much of today's younger audience.

Her album is pleasant enough and displays Keller in a variety of styles, but it lacks that killer track that grabs the listener and won't let go. Stylistically, Keller sometimes approaches Patty Loveless, especially going from the soulful rocker "Grindin' Wheel" to the country ballad "I Quit Givin' Up On You." And she can just as easily do a traditional sounding tune like "Almost Over Me" (one of two songs she co-wrote) or a poppish ballad like "Three Little Teardrops" (whose chorus may be a little too reminiscent of "Three Times A Lady"). This album probably won't set you ablaze, but it does make one thing clear - Keller can sing, and in the right hands could achieve the stardom she longs for.