Laura Bell Bundy, "Achin' & Shakin'"

60 Billboard Rating

Kentucky native Laura Bell Bundy took an unusual route to Nashville via Broadway, starring in such stage hits as "Legally Blonde" and "Hairspray." Split into two "sides," Bundy's second country album and major-label debut, "Achin' & Shakin'," reflects her dramatic flair. The "Achin' " part of the set includes reflective ballads about pains of the heart, from the pleading "Drop On By" to the surprisingly violent "Curse the Bed," which is about literally burning an ex-lover's box spring in effigy. "Shakin' " features the first single and raucous cheating-lover-kiss-off-anthem "Giddy On Up," the Shania Twain-esque "Boyfriend?" and "Everybody," the "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" for a stomping modern-day country pop generation. Bundy's obvious affection for feisty predecessors like Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton adds an appealing jolt to the music's already clever hooks and personal narrative. But what Bundy still needs to develop are the durable melodies and lyrical nuance that turned those artists' compositions into classics. --Evie Nagy