Chalee Tennison

Parading In The Rain – 2003 (DreamWorks Nashville)

Reviewed by Jon Weisberger

CDs by Chalee Tennison

This Texan Chalee Tennison's third album and her first for DreamWorks Nashville. It's also her best yet, as the sympathetic, insightful production by James Stroud brings out the strength of her soaring country voice. Song selection is the album's biggest weakness, but it's not a big one, and the best ones here should make believers out of most country fans.

The title comes from one of those; it's part of an elegant punchline ("It'snot raining on my parade, I'm parading in the rain") that typifies the album's heavy dose of songs about strength and self-reliance. "Easy Lovin' You," a well-crafted, touching story of a teenaged single mother, is even better, as Tennison puts nuanced yet powerful emotion into every word. On others, a strong bluegrass flavor comes through - a token of Tennison's visits to the Station Inn, Nashville's premiere bluegrass venue.

There are occasional missteps here, like the opening "I Am Love," which strives to inhabit a metaphor that's not profound enough to carry an entire song, but they're easy to overlook when set beside the strengths of the rest of the album. If, as the male domination of today's chart suggests, country radio's ready for a new batch of women, it could do a lot worse than to start with Chalee Tennison.