Reba McEntire, "Keep On Loving You"

Album Review

Country singer Reba McEntire doesn't miss a beat on "Keep On Loving You," her debut album for Valory Music. (She previously recorded for MCA Nashville for 25 years.) The first single, "Strange," is the fastest chart climber of her career-and it's one of several "strong women" songs on the new set. "She's Turning 50 Today," one of a handful of tracks that McEntire has co-written during her career, chronicles the thoughts of a woman whose husband leaves her for another. "Nothing to Lose" is a fast-pickin' barn burner with loads of instrumental breaks, while the playful swing tune "I'll Have What She's having" could only be better if McEntire was backed by Asleep at the Wheel. The least self-assured song on the new set is "Over You," a melodic track that tells the story of a woman who sees an old lover she's never gotten over. But things pick up on "Maggie's Creek Road," a swampy cross between "Fancy" and Steve Earle's "Copperhead Road" that tells the tale of a pistol-packing mama's retribution against a man who wronged her daughter. --Ken Tucker