Tuesday, January 18, 2011

CD Reviews- Steel Magnolia- Steel Magnolia

The Background:
A chance meeting at a karaoke bar in Nashville's Printers Alley in 2006 led Meghan Linsey and Joshua Scott Jones to form Steel Magnolia, the vocal duo which won the second season of CMT's Can You Duet talent competition. Linsey and Jones' very first vocal collaboration took place that night with an impromptu version of Air Supply's "I'm All Out of Love." A native of Ponchatoula, La., Linsey began performing at an early age. By the time she was 15, she had already opened shows for Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, Travis Tritt, Gary Allan, Blake Shelton and others. Just days after graduating from high school in 2004, she moved to Nashville to pursue a career in music, supporting herself as the host at a local karaoke club. Jones, a singer-songwriter from Charleston, Ill., also began performing at an early age and later moved to Los Angeles, performing at clubs such as the Viper Room, the Knitting Factory and the Lava Lounge. He eventually returned to Illinois for a period of time before relocating to Nashville. As winners of Can You Duet, Steel Magnolia was rewarded with a contract at Big Machine Records.

The Review:
Meghan has a sassy raspy drawl Bonnie Raitt voice while Joshua has a twangy Bono (of U2) sound that is has a hint of slur on slower deliveries. Individually, they’re not traditional country deliveries, but together, the interplay the show is decidedly old-school Nashville. They’re loose and frisky- best when they’re interchanging vocals and showing off their relationship chemistry. The interplay they show on “Ooh La La,” “Eggs Over Easy,” their charted hit “Keep On Lovin’ You,” “Last Night Again” and “Homespun Love” is where they’re best. Each track has a sultry little sparring to it- the fun they had in the studio transfers over in sound well. The song topics don’t dive particularly deep- it includes basic common themes of love and relationships. “Eggs Over Easy” stands out as the strongest track. It has the most classic production of these mostly modern pop country tracks- a harmonica harmonizing a sexy tale of the tension of “the morning after.” “Homespun Love” has some great resonator guitar work on a groovy hook of lyrical fluff.

Where the album suffers is when Joshua carries the songs on his own- mostly on slower numbers like “Glass Houses.” Linsey’s powerhouse vocals bring life to the album and the male half vocals alone can’t match the interplay duets in appeal.

Overall, the album is some promise. Linsey has great presence and personality on those tracks she’s allowed to shine.

Sounds Like:
Lady Antebellum with Kelly Clarkson playing the role of Hillary Scott

Track Highlights (suggested iPod adds):
Eggs Over Easy
Homespun Love
Keep On Lovin’ You

The Verdict:
Three Stars Out Of Five

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