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Sonya Isaacs

Sonya Isaacs – 2000 (Lyric Street)

Reviewed by George Hauenstein

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CDs by Sonya Isaacs

There is a strong tradition of bluegrass singers cutting country records. Artists like Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Rhonda Vincent, Alison Krauss and Keith Whitley all have had degrees of success in country music. Sonya Isaacs is the latest to try her luck in Nashville.

Familiar to some as a member of the bluegrass gospel family band, the Isaacs, she has more than shown herself well here. This is contemporary country at its best, with an ample supply of steel guitar and fiddle. Isaac's velvety-smooth voice shines on slower numbers like, "Just Go"and "On My Way To You" as well as on the more uptempo, "How Can I Forget" and "I've Forgotten How You Feel." "Barefoot In The Grass," about a terminally-ill sister is a tear-jerker in the mold of Steve Wariner's hit, "Holes In The Floor Of Heaven." The album's final track, "The Battlefield" is a beautifully sparse gospel tune that takes us back to Isaacs' roots.

Produced in part by Gill, this album shows Isaacs has a lot more maturity and depth than many new artists. In addition to being an accomplished guitarist/man- dolin player, she co-wrote four of the songs on the record. All in all, a very strong and likeable debut.