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Melodie Crittenden

Melodie Crittenden – 1998 (Asylum)

Reviewed by Eric Zehnbauer

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CDs by Melodie Crittenden

Melodie Crittenden has a gospel music heritage, having started out in her family's gospel band. Hence the inclusion of a powerful gospel tune, "With His Arms Wide Open." While she also draws on traditional country music influences, Crittenden's album has a more radio-accessible sound.

While this does mean more punched-up arrangements, it's not the annoying pop-rock sound favored by some artists, and Crittenden's voice is powerful enough not to be overshadowed by the music. Whereas Lovett sings with more emotional impact, Crittenden sings with more energy and verve. If her sound reminds one of Faith Hill, it may be more than just coincidence. They have the same manager, and when Crittenden started out singing demos in Nashville, she sang a couple of tunes that Hill had hits with. One of the highlights, "I've Been Waiting For You," had been reserved by Ms. Hill until she finally relinquished rights to it. Crittenden does an outstanding job on it. Her debut shows a lot of promise.