Rebecca Lynn Howard - Forgive
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Forgive (MCA, 2002)

Rebecca Lynn Howard

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

Rebecca Lynn Howard's second album may be well titled. Howard, of strong voice, may need to send a "forgive me" note to country music fans after coming up with a dozen songs that suggest she is not sure whether she wants to be a country singer or pop rock.

She comes out of the box with "Beautiful to You," which is loud and more rocking than it is country. But she does a 180 immediately on the next song, "Dancin' in God's Country" whre a distinctive country twang is intact recalling Patty Loveless with lots of far more authentic country music.

A few others follow suit, especially "Jesus and Bartenders," a cute, well written song by Larry Cordle and Leslie Satcher produced by Steve Fishell. "It Didn't Look Like Alcohol" is more mid-tempo, but the lyrics are taut about a down-and-outer. But then she turns it around again going generic on the title track. The backing strings, synthesizer and production make the song suffer, which is powered by Howard's vocals, which are plentiful. "Memorized and "Pink Flamingo Kind of Love" unfortunately mine the same turf.

Howard leaves the listener with the impression that it's not clear exactly what path she wants to pursue. Main producer Trey Bruce apparently doesn't want to keep Howard in any one niche. And having songs also proudced with Mark Wright and one by Fishell alone reinforce that. Like the closing lines of the title track say, "Forgive and forget/Relive and regret."

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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