Forgive

Rebecca Lynn Howard is a serious talent who, for some unknown reason, has yet to break big.

Rebecca Lynn Howard is a serious talent who, for some unknown reason, has yet to break big. She owns major pipes, personality to burn, keen songwriting skills, an instinctive way with a lyric and a, shall we say, video-friendly persona. The title cut and leadoff single from her second MCA effort is a major-leaguer, with a powerhouse vocal performance and cutting lyrical edge. And it doesn't end there: "Dancin' in God's Country" is an old-fashioned hoe-down with contemporary flair; "Didn't Look Like Alcohol" is wise and tough; and the Larry Cordle/Leslie Satcher cut "Jesus and Bartenders" is country as dirt. There's well-rendered country pop in "Beautiful to You" and "Pink Flamingo Kind of Love"; introspective ballads like "This Love"; cajun-inflected attitude in "When Did You Ever Listen to Me"; and gospel perfection in the exquisite "Softly and Tenderly."—RW