Kristen Kelly - Kristen Kelly
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Kristen Kelly (Sony, 2012)

Kristen Kelly

Reviewed by Andrew Greenhalgh

If her self-titled EP were to serve as her audition on a singing competition the likes of "American Idol," "The Voice" or "The X-Factor," let's just suffice it to say that Kristen Kelly deserves a spot in the next round. And adding to the sound of her powerfully soulful vocals is the keen songwriting ability that gives the artist a push in becoming the next big thing.

Kelly opens up her EP with the semi-hit Ex-Old Man. It pulls from the classic country canon lyrically, tapping into a tale of love gone wrong while letting a laidback, warm flow to carry the song along, Kelly's vocals chewing off her lyrics with playful abandon, colored by just the right amount of southern twang.

Those vocals are given a workout on He Loves to Make Me Cry, a stripped down, bluesy number that lets Kelly's songwriting and sheer talent shine. The artist lets it rip, and the track builds slowly, adding a bit of electric guitar here and some keyboard fills there, coming to a rousing finish. In contrast, Drink Myself Out of Love With You falls more in the vein of modern, radio-friendly country. Mid-tempo and filled with tasteful guitar breakouts, the song will keep the toe tapping.

Finally, Kelly closes up shop with a look toward Memphis with her smoky blues-tinged number, Miss Me. Rousing blues guitar and slowly throbbing percussion, colored by some nice keyboard notes propel the song forward, recalling Bonnie Raitt.

It's a fun, energetic walk down the musical road with Kristen Kelly, experiencing her solid sound and intelligent songwriting, leaving listeners wishing for more.

CDs by Kristen Kelly

Kristen Kelly, 2012

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