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Rimes takes the path making the most sense

The Roxy, West Hollywood, Cal., February 4, 2005

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

Just as LeAnn Rimes stripped away a few of her unbecoming diva-isms by releasing the less pop-y "This Woman" CD, the singer's two-night stand at the intimate The Roxy similarly represented a back-to-basics concert outing.

While huddled together with her band on this Sunset Strip's small stage, the former LA resident was dressed in a flower print top and casual jeans, and sang what can best described as country flavored roots rock.

Granted, these new works won't make the likes of, say, Patty Griffin particularly nervous, but at least she's moving in the right direction once again.

Songs from "This Woman" represented the foundation of Rimes' 75-minute set, which ranged from the sad and thoughtful "Probably Wouldn't Be This Way," to the liberating and rocking vehicle of "I Got It Bad." Rimes had a hand in writing many of these new songs. And while none featured stop-you-in-your-tracks lyrics, examples like "You Take Me Home" nevertheless rang true due to a little autobiographical perspective.

With its acoustic arrangement, colored by fiddle and accordion, Rimes' latest single "Nothin 'Bout Love Makes Sense" actually makes sense on country radio. The same thing, however, could hardly be said about such artistic missteps as the relatively recent "Can't Fight The Moonlight."

Nevertheless, this traditional new tune of hers didn't sound all that out of place next to Rimes' other big hits, which included "How Do I Live" and "Blue," tonight. Rather than swaying to a wild musical mood swing, Rimes' new direction is, instead, something closer to a compass wisely reset in country's general direction.

LeAnn Rimes is certainly not a cute little girl star anymore: Womanhood is slowly but surely leading her toward more fulfilling artistic pastures. And while she may not be there quite yet, she's at least returned to the path that makes the most sense.

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