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27 September 2011

Music Review: LeAnn Rimes, Lady and Gentlemen

LeAnn Rimes released her 13th album today, titled Lady and Gentlemen. It's a covers record with a little bit of a twist: almost every song on the record was originally done by a man. LeAnn covered them with a female point of view. The only exceptions are a new version of her debut single "Blue" and two brand new songs.

This is mostly a departure from the sound most music fans know her by. Instead of the pop/rock influences of some of her biggest hits, she goes for a more traditional  sound. This is especially obvious with her new version of "Blue". It manages to one up the original arrangement that people thought was too traditional to work on radio. The most interesting part is listening to the vocals and realizing that there is very little difference between the two. Her voice has stayed very consistant over the years while gaining a little bit of strength. Rather than go into every track on the album, I'll highlight a few of the best ones:

Swingin' I love this one. It's a fast paced track that you'll want to add to your workout routine. I actually prefer this to the original because of the quicker pace. I think it works a little better with the words.

16 Tons LeAnn didn't stray too far from the original arrangement here. It's got a very bluesy/jazz sound that I love. The only change I see is they added some very prominent horns and possibly slowed it down just a little. You can just picture this being played in a club in the 40s.

When I Call Your Name LeAnn said she was told by Vince Gill (the original artist as well as a producer on this record) to make it her own. He didn't want her to do it exactly as he did. They decided to go for an old 70s soul kind of sound that I think works very well.

Through the record, LeAnn's vocals are, for the most part, very toned down and I think she's done a good job of enunciating in this record (a complaint I've seen over the years from many a fan). I can't finish this review, however, without mentioning the other new song: "Crazy Women". Now this is the LeAnn I am used to. Lots of attitude, some big vocals and a more rock/pop sound. Overall, I think anyone who is a fan of LeAnn (or just good country) will like this one.

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