Newcomer Kellie Coffey has a lifetime of love songs stored up for her BNA debut, as all 11 songs deal with some degree of infatuation.
Newcomer Kellie Coffey has a lifetime of love songs stored up for her BNA debut, as all 11 songs deal with some degree of infatuation. Other topics do exist, but Coffey leans toward adult standard-styled ditties that blend piano and strings with requisite country instrumentation, including banjo, fiddles, and steel that seem an afterthought. Coffey's voice itself is a powerful, rangey instrument in the Trisha Yearwood mold that alternates between breathy undertones, falsettos, and big-time belting. Her vocal chops give backbone to such radio-ready fare as the slow-build "Bluer Skies," the jangly guitars of "At the End of the Day" and "The Simple Truth," and the passionately delivered "Love's Funny That Way." Such piano-based ballads as the "Breathe" wannabe title cut and "Whatever It Takes" are mostly unmemorable, but "Outside Looking In" (with Richie McDonald) stands out on sheer vocal prowess alone. The best cuts are the soaring "Why Wyoming," the stirring urgency of "What It's Like to Be Me," and the mostly acoustic "Fingerprints." Producer Dann Huff paints a vibrant sonic picture, and Coffey definitely has the goods, particularly when she's allowed to take a chance here and there.—RW