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Erika Jo

Erika Jo – 2005 (Universal South)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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Erika Jo Heriges received a big self-made break right out of the box by being this year's Nashville Star winner. Now that doesn't mean that she will be huge success necessarily, but she shows enough here on her debut to at least put her in that direction.

For starters, it's good to hear Erika Jo tackle new material instead of covers. She shows her big voice - sassy sounding here - on "I Break Things," the lead-off track and first single. She keeps a similar country vibe on "Going "Til You're Gone." Based on the TV series, it would have been taken some convincing to think that Erika Jo was comfortable on such material, but in fact that is her strength. The ballad "There Are No Accidents" is particularly strong. Fortunately, producers Tim DuBois, Rick Giles and Steve Mandile rely on a lot on country sounds as the tendency would have been to go more pop with Erika Jo. Elsewhere, she is more mainstream, recalling perhaps Lila, with songs that aren't exactly cutting edge ("Love Is," "Strong Tonight," "Good Day for Goodbye").She also should have been careful about what she cut because Erika Jo cut a wholesome, clean image. So while she can turn in a good vocal performance on "I'm Not Lisa," does the song fit Erika Jo?

Erika Jo, of course, is not a star yet. But there's enough to recommend here that she is at least pointed in the right direction.