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Kenny Rogers

Water and Bridges – 2006 (Capitol Nashville)

Reviewed by Eli Messinger

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CDs by Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers' first studio album in three years finds his gifts undiminished, with his voice resounding distinctively atop Dann Huff's country-tinged adult contemporary productions. The material sticks to the sort of contemplative mid-tempo numbers on which Rogers excels, and though the opening single (the power ballad "I Can't Unlove You") is lyrically pedestrian, there are songwriting riches to be found throughout.

Walt Wilkins and Davis Raines' "Someone Somewhere Tonight" hits a high point with vignettes that contrast life's start and end, love's rise and crash and the soul's incarceration and freedom. The title track sings of emotional regret and forgiveness, and the gospel-inflected Don Henley duet "Calling Me" has a soulful melody that tips its hat to Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready." The optimistic "Someone is Me" and "My Petition" add surprising notes of altruism, with the latter's treacly tale of a child's petition made palpable by Rogers' thoughtful delivery.

This is a graceful album that will certainly please both Rogers' many longtime fans and contemporary country listeners.