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Miranda Lambert

Kerosene – 2005 (Epic)

Reviewed by Rick Teverbaugh

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CDs by Miranda Lambert

There's a maturity to be found on Miranda Lambert's big-label debut that comes out as much in her writing as in her singing. It will likely surprise most that this Texas singer/songwriter is only 21 and admits that her own life experiences and trip to the big time really hasn't been all that difficult. But since her parents are private investigators, what she hasn't experienced she's heard and that's reflected in the diversity and depth of the 11 songs she wrote or co-wrote.

But what will reel in fans first will be the powerful and engaging voice she possesses as she displays on both the opening title cut and on "Me and Charlie Talking." On very close inspection it is easy to see that she knows that having great pipes is only part of the equation. She sings with finesse, which makes the slower material the real showcase for her vocal abilities ("Greyhound Bound for Nowhere" and "Love Your Memory").

If there is any downside to the disc, it is the divergent styles, like roots rock and blues shuffles, used to power up many of the tunes. There's no mistaking her love of country and her Texas roots in her voice but the music sometimes spins a different tale. There some straight up rockers like "Kerosene." Often this scatter-gun delivery in an established artist will sound like the spreading of wings. Here is sounds a tough like she's still getting comfortable with her studio persona. But at 21 it is a small quibble and doesn't detract from the overall impact of a startling good debut.