It's been five years since Laura Bell Bundy's last album, "Achin' and Shakin'." Her latest, "Another Piece of Me," was finished two years ago. But after a spat with Universal, she signed with Big Machine to get this one out. LBB seems determined to make up for the lost time. She comes out swinging on the first two tracks with the rocking opener, "Love Me Like A Lady" followed by a sassy, hip hop duet with Colt Ford ("Two Step").
Bundy, who has had feature roles in television and on Broadway ("Legally Blonde" and "Wicked") earning a Tony nomination, penned over half the tracks and elsewhere enlisted heavyweights like Kristian Bush and Ashley Monroe for assistance.
The album runs through a spectrum of emotions and is a little heavy on girl power anthems reminiscent of Kellie Pickler's "Red High Heels." The video for the lead single, "I Am What I Am" was filmed in the Swiss Alps, where LBB says she was inspired by "The Sound Of Music." It would be a fairer comparison if Maria Von Trapp were performing R-rated material. Some of the lyrics are unapologetically raw.
The generous 15-track collection has range, switching gears from empowering anthems to silly fun. One minute, she's in a promising relationship, the next she only wants to dance, drink and get rowdy with the girls. She deftly handles the polarity of love; whether she's touting premarital sex ("Let's Pretend We're Married") and getting drunk and rowdy at the Kentucky Derby ("Kentucky Dirty"). She seems equally authentic in the sweet "Making Me Feel."
This album is chock full of girl power, which, in light of radio consultant Keith Hill's controversial comments about female artists on country radio, the format needs. Desperately.