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Danni Leigh

Divide And Conquer – 2001 (Audium)

Reviewed by Brian Steinberg

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CDs by Danni Leigh

Sometimes, an album can surprise you. So maybe you're a little cynical, and expect Danni Leigh to sound like any other modern-day country chanteuse. But her third album, grabs you by the shirt and makes you pay attention. Is it the rapid-fire drums that punctuate "Yesterday"? The Memphis soul stirrings of "Sometime"? The crisp dobro sounds that lace the entire album? The eerie similarities between Leigh's voice and Patsy Cline's in "My Last Chance Is Gone"? Who cares?

This album cuts through all the country-pop Nashville has hit us with for years and belts you right in the face. Dwight Yoakam cohort Pete Anderson produces, and the song selection includes tunes by Jim Lauderdale and Phil Lee, but it is Leigh's voice and phrasing that carries the day.

"Divide & Conquer" does just what it says, but your ears will be basking in the sweet surrender. This is good stuff that deserves wider notice.