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Shelly Fairchild

Ride – 2005 (Sony Nashville)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Shelly Fairchild

Newcomer Shelly Fairchild's strong suit clearly is her voice. The Mississippi native got a ton of twang in her voice with a strong drawl. She gets down and dirty on the lead-off "Kiss Me," one of four songs she helped write, where she soars on the country/bluesy/gospel song where the title says it all.

Veteran producers Buddy Cannon and Kenny Greenberg, working together for the first time, wisely keep Fairchild's voice front and center throughout the 11 songs. She needn't go full blast either as "Tiny Town" is a more subdued musically, letting her vocals shine through. However, similar to many discs out there today, there is a bit too much gloss to the production, sounding too clean and polished ("Time Machine"). Fairchild's vocals demand a rougher, free flowing sound. "Kiss Me" probably hits the mark the most in this regard. "I Want to Love You" showcases taut vocals and nice mandolin underneath, but too many power guitar chords. Dennis Linde's "Down Into Muddy Water" is a big voiced song for Fairchild with horns helping as well and searing guitars not.

Fairchild does not break any new ground on her debut, but it's solid enough that she should be able to take it for a ride.