Kelly Lang - Jagged Edges Album review by: Cheryl Harvey Hill
things are worth waiting for and one of those things just arrived
in my mailbox this week. In 2004 when Kelly Lang released her
debut album, It's About Time, I tossed her CD into my
player and, with just one run through, I agreed fully with the
title for a variety of reasons. I became an instant fan of her
marvelous voice and it wasn't long before I discovered that, not
only was it about time that she recorded a real album, but
it was also about time she showcased her prolific
songwriting skills and, on this project, she does just that. She
wrote six of the seventeen (yep, seventeen) songs by herself and
co-wrote on the other eleven. She decided to call her sophomore
release Jagged Edges because the tracks on this album are
what they refer to in the industry as rough cuts; they haven't
been studio tweaked, filtered or refined in any way. The end
result, as you will hear, however, is anything but rough and the
only place jagged edges show up on this album, is in the
With all due respect to Martina, whose fantastic
voice can shoot right through you in the most delightful way and
cause the hair to stand up on your arms for days afterward, Lang's
incredible voice often causes the same reaction but the difference
is you never see it coming. When she sings, it is so easy to lose
yourself in the music and, before you know it, her voice has
steeped into the deepest parts of your consciousness and weaved
its way through a symbiotic chord that you never thought anyone
would ever discover, let alone actually touch.
Now Playing "I'm Not Going Anywhere"
"What Do You Do When You Don't"
"When I'm Gone"
Her lyrics are strong and sometimes so visual
that you find yourself flinching. In "If I'd Only Known"
she sings "If I'd know you would break my heart / Make it
shatter all apart / I would have never let you in / I was fine
just where I'd been / If I'd known you would rape my soul / Leave
me to bleed out of control / I'd have never let you near / I was
fine without you here" Like every great songwriter, Lang
is perfectly capable of taking everything life throws at her, good
or bad, and setting it to restorative music. The end results are
songs full of empathy that touch your heart, lift your spirits,
allow you to cry, and yet, never fail to leave you inspired. Lang
hasn't had to go outside of her own life to be able to write about
desperation or to seek inspiration. The sensitivity, passion,
humor, compassion, and hope reflected in her songs is derived from
parents who motivated and inspired her, a broken marriage that
forced her to grow in new directions, two amazingly beautiful
daughters who have taught her the meaning of unconditional love,
and a ten round battle with cancer that has her emerging as an
Lang is one of the new breed of
singer/songwriters who are so creative they can't be labeled or
confined to one genre but her allegiance to country music is
crystal clear when "Under a Tennessee Moon" flows out of
your speakers and fills the room like a magnolia blossom
potpourri. On this specific track she is an ace ambassador for
Music City and this song is the perfect anthem for the entire
state of Tennessee. As she sings "Tennessee river, it runs
through my veins / I still love to hear Smokey Mountain rain / Of
all of the places that I have been to / I want to grow old Under a
Tennessee moon;" you WILL believe her.
The final cut on this musical feast is "You
Think You're Su-uh," co-written with good friends Lorrie
Morgan and Mark Oliverius. This cut is just plain fun and if you
listen closely, you will hear the background vocals are a
universal childhood taunt, "na, nanna, na, na." It
wouldn't surprise me if Paris Hilton discarded her trademark
"hot" for "su-uh" since it has the perfect DNA
to become a popular new catch phrase.
Lang sings "if you ain't su-uh / you
ain't nu-uh" and you will know one thing for certain
after hearing her new album; when it comes to beauty, talent and
vocal acuity, Lang has cornered the market on "su-uh."
This one is a definite keeper.
Editor's Note: "I'm Not Going
Anywhere," track seven, will be featured in the new Burt
Reynolds movie, "Deal," due to be released in August.