Picks and Pans Review: As I Am
The title is more descriptive than most. This album, thank goodness, has no hint of the Disco Annie mode that has crept into some later Murray albums. The mood is warm, intimate, thoughtful. The style is country pop, heavy on the pop. And the songs are by such talents as Charlie Black, Karla Bonoff, Rory Michael Bourke, Kye Fleming, Randy Goodrum, K.T. Oslin and Tommy Rocco. There are appealing contributions from saxophonist Jim Horn and, as backup singers, Baillie and the Boys. If this seems to be leading up to a big "but," well, it's actually more like a medium-size "but." There is a listless feel to the record. It doesn't help that its first side begins with Rita MacNeil's Flying on Your Own, which is unhappily reminiscent of such other feminist anthems as I Am Woman. Who But You, a Black-Bourke-Oslin tune that ought to be classic Murray, merely is innocuous. Maybe it's a relearning process, since Murray used a new producer—Randy Travis collaborator Kyle Lehning—for this album. Maybe the songs would not stand up too well to their composers' other work no matter who sang them. In any case, Murray as she is is at worst a charming singer, and this record at least represents a positive step. (Capitol)
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