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Erika Jo - Self-Titled Debut
CD Review by Jim Moulton

This is the second Nashville country CD that I have reviewed this year. The other one was by Chely Wright. I do not like where country radio is heading, so I do not listen to it. I have no idea who most of the artists on the charts are these days. 

On the other hand, Erika Jo is delightful, reminds me a bit of Jessica Andrews. I would have watched Nashville Star if I had cable, but I don't. So this is the first that I have heard of this very talented young lady. 

This is country music; some very nice pedal steel, fiddle, mandolin and there is Erica Jo's luscious, emotive country vocals.

Universal South got this deal and Tony Brown personally helped produce the first radio single "I Break Things", an upbeat country rocker with some real rockin' music, great fiddle, but far from my favorite song on the disc.

Erika had the privilege of using Reba's Starstruck studios and having Nashville's finest studio musicians on hand like Brent Mason on lead guitar, Paul Franklin on pedal steel and lap steel, Eddie Bayers on drums and Aubrey Haynie on fiddle and mandolin. The sound quality is rich, very easy on the ears. Erika has the privilege of access to some great Nashville songster's material. Interesting to note two Nashville singers; Katrina Elam and Rachel Proctor whose initial CD releases flopped have some songs they helped write here. To me, Erika Jo has a better voice and CD than they did.

"Go" is a slow paced country ballad that Erika Jo takes control of. Just a great, emotive song with some great lyrics and production. Very nice fiddle, backup vocals, love it. This sounds more like a recording from five years ago than the hard rockin' stuff on country radio today. 

Erika just graduated from high school and has the maturity of someone singing on their second or third CD. You know what, this album is excellent material, no suggestive sexual references and she seems to be having fun.

"Good Day For Goodbye" is a great upbeat song about love failing, great lyrics, incredible vocals and guitars, real nice lap steel. This is a radio hit waiting to happen. 

"There Are No Accidents" is a very convincing slow ballad that has great musical hooks and great lyrical content. I read where someone said that the lyrics on this song are contrived. All music connects on different levels somehow, this is a truly great song, some beautiful acoustic guitar pickin'. 

On track seven, an upbeat country rocker, Paul Franklin takes me away with his lap steel. Rachel Proctor and Katrina Elam's songs are very good.

"I'm Not Lisa" (Jessi Colter) shows the emotion and strength of Erica Jo's vocals with it's more sparse production. This song is so warm, so full, Paul Franklin's lazy pedal steel takes you back to another era. 

I'm already running out of space. I've got more good stuff to say, but I think you should judge for yourself. When you hear a young artist like Erica Jo, it gives you hope that true country music, maybe, is not dead. 

Visit Erica Jo at http://www.ErikaJo.com 

Buy CD right here!

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