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Greta Lee

You Must Be Present To Win – 2001 (Let's Roll)

Reviewed by Brian Steinberg

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CDs by Greta Lee

Greta Lee gets back in the game with her second effort. The title echoes an old Steve Forbert song, "You Cannot Win If You Do Not Play," and Lee definitely gives it a good go. Say what you will about female country singers in this post-Garth era, but Lee brings things back to the basics. Shania and Faith would, no doubt, be uncomfortable with this collection of honest songs ("Everything's Changed" takes us through a woman's life and the streets of her small town) and hiccup-y instrumentation.

Lee doles out equal portions of sugar and spice on myriad tales about loving and leaving ("Got No Reason," "Next Stop The Blues," and the semi-autobiographical "Carolina" are particular standouts). Meanwhile, her band, which includes guitartist Jon Byrd and pianist Jerry Dale McFadden, helps seal the deal, helping to underscore whatever emotion Lee is trying to conjure up. There's nothing synthetic about Greta Lee or her music.