Picks and Pans Review: The Road That Led Me to You

updated 09/04/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/04/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Baillie and the Boys (Synergy)

Kathie Baillie is sounding less loose and playful than she did on such previous albums as Turn the Tide and 1996's Lovin' Every Minute. But she's more musical now—a combination of Judy Collins and Gloria Estefan with a touch of Nanci Griffith and Maura O'Connell thrown in.

This album includes one of the best, most literate country songs of recent years, "Treat Me Like A Stranger," cowritten by the group's guitarist Michael Bonagura (who married Baillie in 1977) and Peter McCann. Bonagura, with Baillie and old reliable Don Schlitz, also wrote the album's affectingly romantic title tune.

Founded in the late '70s, the original Baillie trio broke up in the '80s but reunited in 1998 to perform for a benefit to aid the victims of the fires in central Florida. That benefit turned out to be quite a boon to Nashville too. Baillie and band-mates Bonagura and bassist Alan LeBoeuf remain among the most consistently entertaining of country pop entertainers.

Bottom Line: A most welcome return

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