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Martina McBride

Timeless – 2005 (RCA)

Reviewed by Rick Teverbaugh

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CDs by Martina McBride

Some of the top country legends have some of their best songs covered by Martina McBride, the best voice in today's crop of songbirds. The list of legends includes Hank Williams, Ray Price, Lynn Anderson, Loretta Lynn, Hank Snow, Tammy Wynette, Johnny Cash and Buck Owens. Some of the memorable songs on this 18-cut disc include "Help Me Make It Through the Night," "Satin Sheets," "I Can't Stop Loving You," "Today I Started Loving You Again" and the disc's first single "Rose Garden."

There's also reason for applause in the fact that McBride chose to keep the original arrangements mostly intact instead of updating them in sound and style. Obviously some will find this "traditional" feel not to their liking, but the very definition of the album's title will tell why this choice was made.

But the biggest reason to regard this in a very special light can be found in McBride's approach to making the album. While truly one of today's country superstars, she totally made sure that she serviced these great songs rather than using the songs as a vehicle to show off her tremendous pipes. Never does her vocal work overshadow the music and the lyrics. There isn't a single cut that could even be described as mediocre. As with true good hitters in baseball, she has knocked it out of the park by taking a smooth easy swing.