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Greta Lee

This Ain't Over Yet – 1998 (Self-released)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

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CDs by Greta Lee

The first thing to strike the listener is the resemblance of Greta Lee's voice to that of Natalie Merchant - and not only her voice, but the way she sings as well. Thankfully, the resemblance does not extend to Merchant's penchant for self-important clap-trap; Lee's voice is instead the vehicle for the delivery of a set of sturdy country songs. While at first spin the disc comes across as somewhat flat, in this case first impressions are misleading, as it grows with repeated listens.

Lee wrote all of the songs here but one (a cover of the Haggard-by-way-of-Sonny Throckmorton classic "The Way I Am" that, while a respectable tribute, is not going to make anyone forget Merle's version). She tends to slower numbers and ballads - and these are the strongest cuts on the disc, most notably the title track, which may be the best of the bunch - with a shuffle interspersed here and there. The supporting work is more than able: Jon Byrd contributes some fine playing on both guitar and mandolin, as well as harmonies (those on "Silly Me" are particularly sweet) and alternating vocals on "The Cryin's Over and Done." And the high lonesome pedal steel work of players Bill Fleming and Jim Novak is all over the album. This is a solid if unspectacular debut.