Picks and Pans Review: Shiver
Rhythmic, expressive, a touch bluesy and subtly sexy, O'Neal is a country-pop singer poised to capture the same kind of listeners who gravitated toward Bonnie Raitt 25 years ago. Born in Sydney, O'Neal, the 32-year-old daughter of professional musicians, began performing at age 8 and later sang backup for Aussie pop chanteuse Kylie Minogue.
Her family's migration to the U.S.—first Hawaii, then Tennessee—has clearly exposed her to a range of pop and country influences. And veteran producer Keith Stegall exploits her versatility on this album: The 13 tracks range from romantic ballads to energetic rock turns. O'Neal cowrote nine of the smart if not overly clever tunes, collaborating with such writers as Shaye Smith, Lisa Drew and Richard Marx. She is shrewdly matched with Mark Wills for a duet on "I'm Not Gonna Do Anything Without You." Although plenty more will be heard from this woman, what there is so far goes beyond entertaining.
Bottom Line: A newcomer off to an auspicious start