Although she's sometimes created the impression that she's simply a vulnerable balladeer who wears her tattered emotions on her proverbial sleeve, Michaela Ann can come across as feisty as any other sassy, swaggering songbirds on the current scene today. In many ways however, she seems a throwback to those who set precedent in an earlier era. Indeed, it's hardly a surprise that on "Desert Dove," Linda Ronstadt, Stevie Nicks and Karla Bonoff readily come to mind on such songs as the no-nonsense "If I Wanted Your Opinion," the effectively assured "Run Away With Me" and the prime country rocker "I'm Not the Fire." If anything, Michaela Anne has learned her lessons well, and she applies them with equal aplomb.
Granted, this singer has her sensitive side as well. Opening track "By Our Design" starts as a tender, intimate ballad before her voice starts to soar midway through. The easy pace of the title track clears the way for the country croon of "Two Fools" two songs further in. Likewise, closing track "Be Easy" effectively lives up to its title, ending the album much the way it began, in a complete and comforting embrace.
Although it's her name on the masthead, Michalea Anne wasn't alone in terms of setting the tone. Producers Sam Outlaw and Kelly Winrich (a member of the band Delta Spirit) had much to do with the sonics and the set up, and in many ways their efforts enable "Desert Dove" to soar the way it does. Some four albums in, Michaela Anne appears to have both hit her stride and assumed her identity, one that finds its sources in an array of emotions and a rich yet tangled tapestry. This is surely her best work yet.