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Julie Reeves

It's About Time – 1999 (Virgin Nashville)

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

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CDs by Julie Reeves

A double debut, this is not only the artist's recording bow but the inaugural release by Virgin's new country imprint, and it is a promising start for both. Reeves is a full-throated 24 year old with the prerequisite supermodel looks of a current female country star. Not just another pretty face, however, she has some serious vocal chops to spare, like a '90's version of Tammy Wynette, or a younger Patty Loveless or Trisha Yearwood.

Reeves' sound is characterized by a near-twang that's refreshing in today's glut of Adult Contemporary country. She opens on an upbeat, two-stepping beat on "Trouble Is A Woman" and shifts from toe-tappers like "Party Down," to heartfelt ballads ("What I Need"). She's surrounded by too many modern, Hot New Country production elements to be considered retro-traditionalist, but her heart seems to be in a more classic place than most modern crossover country stars. The most modern sounding track is the title cut, which mimics recent hits like Alan Jackson and Toby Keith with almost-spoken verse and chorus lines that reveal a sassy Kentucky drawl.

You can package, primp, and put makeup on an artist like Reeves, but some of that country heartland upbringing shines through in her obvious debts to classic country divas.