Picks and Pans Review: Steppin'stone
updated 10/23/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 10/23/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Anyone who has ever seen Osmond in a movie knows she has extreme difficulty in conveying any emotion more complex than that needed to say "Good afternoon." That shortcoming holds true of her singing too.
This album, produced by Jerry (Tanya Tucker, Lee Greenwood) Crutchfield, is probably her liveliest country creation yet, highlighted by the rhythmic charge of the Gary Scruggs-Kevin Welch title tune. On that track, Marie almost sounds, well, downright spunky.
The album also includes such attractive tunes as the standby "Let Me Be the First" (by Deborah Allen, Kix Brooks and Rafe Van Hoy) and the Charlie Black-Rory Bourke song "A Too Blue Moon."
Most of the time, though, Osmond's true-toned voice seems as if it's coming out from under a couple of layers of clear plastic, with all the nuance and passion filtered out. The studio musicians backing her come across as subdued too. The result is music that generally varies between stiff as a board and self-consciously lightened up. (Capitol)