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Pam Tillis

Thunder and Roses – 2001 (Arista Nashville)

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

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CDs by Pam Tillis

For Pam Tillis' first album since last year's overdue induction into the Grand Ole Opry, this self-proclaimed musical chameleon comes up with a batch of winning tunes that put her firmly back in the running alongside Martina McBride and Reba McEntire as a female country singer with wider horizons.

The first single, "Please," is one of those uplifting slice of life anthems that sounds great on the radio and connects with women on some level that men will never completely understand. Tillis sings it like she has lived it. Her voice has never sounded better, with even clichTd tunes like, "It isn't just raining," profiting from her impeccable delivery.

The title cut's juxtaposition of toughness and tenderness is an apt metaphor for the strong yet deft touch Tillis displays on the entire disc. Full of broad strokes and glossy production that fails to cover up the hereditary country genes of Mel Tillis' daughter, this lives up to its title with songs that cover the relationship gamut from stormy to sweet.