Pam Tillis was all over the charts in the early-to mid '90s, with 13 top 10 hits, three platinum albums, two golds, a Grammy and a Female Vocalist of the Year Award from the CMA. But she hasn't released a solo non-holiday album since "Rhinestoned" 13 long years ago. On the cover of this comeback album Ms. Tillis is in what appears to be a bathtub, with a chocolate cookie in her mouth and a cocktail in her hand. That's certainly one way to go about it. Fortunately we don't have to risk our livers or our waistlines if we're looking for a feeling. We can just listen to this CD.
Carl Jung once said "Who looks outside dreams, who looks inside awakes." And Tillis seems to be taking those words to heart on this very introspective album. Gone are the days of "Mi Vida Loca"; these days it's nature walks and old movies that bring solace on "My Kind of Medicine." Maybe that's because none of her relationships are working out well. On "Last Summer's Wine," she's missing what she had, and on "Karma," she wishes she didn't deserve what she has ("I feel the pain of everyone that I made blue / A strange reverse deja vu"). She gets cosmic on "Burning Star," even contemplates the end of the world.
So, no, this is not a happy record. Even a song about her love of music ("Lady Music") has plaintive tinges. But it's not a sad record either. Wistful maybe. Wise certainly. Her beautiful voice and the bluesy jazz vibe keeps it from getting too heavy. And the partly spoken word "Dolly 1969" is a fun ride. After all who wouldn't want to "Try on that coat of many colors / slap that little bitch Jolene."