Picks and Pans Review: Love in a Small Town

updated 12/03/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/03/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

K.T. Oslin

A country-pop vocalist who can belt out one number and purr her way through the next. Oslin mixes torchy ballads and honky-tonk ballads on this album.

She wrote most of the tunes herself, including the sad but pretty "New Way Home" and such kickier stuff as "Momma Was a Dancer" and "Oo-Wee." Oslin adds to the curious but workable mix the 1957 Mickey and Sylvia hit "Love Is Strange."" which she does to mellow perfection, accompanied by the spare. Twin Peaks theme—like guitar work of John Willis and Dino Zimmerman: she also revives the 1946 Sam Martin-Ben Trace-Clem Watts country ditty "You Call Everybody Darlin"," rarely heard this side of the Happy Polkateers.

When she's not exercising her sweetly provocative vocalese. Oslin has a nice way of talking through a song, as she does through some stretches of the melancholy ballad "Mary and Willi," and more so, and to better effect, on "Still on My Mind."

Oslin's voice sounds most at home on the alternately soft and soaring "Two Hearts" (on CD only), where she sings in a harsh yet lovely way, "Two hearts are better than one/ Two hearts keep pain on the run/ I When it's all night and the night's just begun/ Don't you know two hearts/ Two hearts are better than one."

An able piano player herself, Oslin gets help from five other keyboardists on this, her third album. There's a bevy of drummers, bass players and guitarists too. none of whom comes close to stealing Oslin's show. (RCA)

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