Picks and Pans Review: The Hardest Part

UPDATED 09/11/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 09/11/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT

Allison Moorer (MCA Nashville)

In an era when so many singers have flimsy, dyspeptic voices that would barely register on an oscilloscope, it's a pleasure to be dazzled by this melodious second album. Moorer, a 28-year-old from Alabama, sings with a hearty, resonant alto that evokes such powerhouse country performers as Patsy Cline, K.T. Oslin and, more recently, Mandy Barnett. Like them, Moorer also displays the versatility to navigate comfortably among ballads and uptempo tunes.

Moorer had a hand in writing all 10 pieces on this album, along with her husband, Doyle "Butch" Primm, and producer Kenny Greenberg. She takes an insightfully cynical approach, leading to such no-nonsense tunes about romance as "Best That I Can Do," "Is It Worth It" and "No Next Time," which features a potent duet vocal with the Nashville singer who calls himself Lonesome Bob. Greenberg himself plays a most musical guitar, and he's effectively joined by pedal-steel player Russ Pahl, fiddler Joe Spivey and drummer Chad Cromwell.

Given the tendency of some singers to flaunt their navels instead of their vocal ability, it's especially satisfying to hear a woman who clearly values substance over style.

Bottom Line: Sophomore success from a splendid young talent

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