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Bobbie Cryner

Girl of Your Dreams – 1996 (MCA)

Reviewed by Chuck Hamilton

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CDs by Bobbie Cryner

Just when you're about to give up on Nashville, along comes Bobbie Cryner, with a smoky voice that virtually wraps itself around a set of songs that not only cut to the chase, but cut to the bone as well. You could spend a lot of time finding adjectives describing her voice, so just call it unique, put the thesaurus away, and sit down and listen. You'll hear elements of Dusty Springfield, Nanci Griffith, Lacy J. Dalton, but the biggest comparison is to George Jones. The voices aren't similar at all, but like Jones, Cryner paints such vivid pictures with her pipes, a video would be superfluous. Cryner does an admirable job covering two familiar tunes, "Son of a Preacher Man" and "Lesson in Leaving."

But she really shines with her own material, with songs about the school of hard knocks while avoiding country cliches or self pity. In "You Think He'd Know Me Better," she takes you through a marriage that's headed south, and after four minutes and two seconds, you feel as if you've been there yourself. It's the musical equivalent of an IMAX movie. Background music for line dancing, this ain't. Some arrangements are a bit bland, but then they were on a lot of Patsy Cline's work as well. Some singers have a way of transcending those things.