Jennifer Hanson

Thankful – 2008 (Universal South)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Jennifer Hanson

When we last heard from Jennifer Hanson, she released her self-titled debut six years ago, garnering one semi-hit "Beautiful Goodbyes." Since then, the Californian's success has been on the songwriting front with "Leave the Pieces" for The Wreckers and "A Different World" for Bucky Covington. Hanson switched labels, but with two singles not burning up the charts, this release went digital only.

As for the artistic merit here, Hanson still has a very pleasant voice (the leadoff "Joy Ride"), recalling Rosanne Cash and at times Sheryl Crow with far more of a country sound (not that Hanson is overly traditional). There's a bright, clean, easy-going quality to the recording as well. But where other country singers would veer straight towards pop, Hanson maintains a country vibe with pedal steel on several songs along with mandolin ("I Won't Give Up" where she could sound a lot tougher vocally). Vince Gill lent his vocal skills on the very tender sounding "Thankful for You," the best of the 10 songs here.

Hanson may have been away from the scene a long time and thankful to be back, but the quality remains.