Picks and Pans Review: Let Me in

updated 10/06/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/06/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Chely Wright

For her third album, Chely Wright has hopped to a different record label, teamed up with country music überproducer Tony Brown (George Strait, Wynonna, Reba Mc-Entire) and adopted a simpler, more acoustic-laden sound. Brown has wisely placed the 26-year-old Wright's sturdy vocals smack-dab out in front of uncluttered song arrangements, and the results are a revelation. Wright, whose previous CDs didn't exactly burn up the charts, is now one of country's best-kept secrets. And with her down-home delivery on some solid material—the fierce determination of "Shut Up and Drive" and the spare, lovely "Emma Jean's Guitar" (cowritten by Matraca Berg)—Wright seems to be giving us a big, friendly smile and saying, "I've been here all along. What kept you?" (MCA Nashville)

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