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Kellie Pickler - Small Town Girl
Review By Jim Moulton, CSO Staff Journalist

Okay, I confess, I am an American Idol addict. I got into it a couple of years ago and never got out. Simon Cowell is a genius (despite his demeanor). I read his book "Excuse Me For Being Rude, But--" and learned his incredible story how he went from an EMG mailroom clerk to being a multi-millionaire. Plus he reveals several secrets of the music business, I highly recommend it, a real interesting and informative read.

I was rooting for Pickler (ok, I voted for her too), I was surprised that Sony picked her up, I mean she was just a finalist, not a winner. Her CD entered the Billboard Country Charts at the number one spot and is eight after three weeks, just found that out, that really surprised me too. Blake Chancey produced the disc, the booklet does not tell you much, I don't recognize any of the musicians he used. Usually, I recognize at least a couple. It alludes that she wrote the songs (no doubt with some help from music row writers). But there are no credits for the songs.

Pickler has a sweet voice, the vocals are nice, smooth and emotive. A lot of the disc is New Country with rock guitars and synths all over the place, super polished. I really like her lyrical content, full of country and small town imagery. Pickler exudes confidence on this CD and reminds me a bit of Tammy Cochran on some songs.

I saw her sing the single "Red High Heels" on Leno. She seemed nervous and missed a couple of notes, but fared pretty good. Her band was good. On the disc, she really sounds good and as I listen, I am thinking they might have picked the wrong song for the first single. In my opinion, there are many better songs on this debut.

What they left out on the skimpy booklet is made up for in great music. "One Of The Guys" just came on, love the blues harp and the funky rhythm, nice pedal steel, moves well, and the band is jammin' with the blues harp. Great song.

While I'm here, a really beautiful slow ballad just came on, "My Angel", a song about her grandmother. This gal has a true country voice with a real country accent and is a true small town girl.

There are so many female country singers that have so much of a pop style in their voice, not Pickler, she really has a nice vocal going on. She is good, better than lots of the other new female solo singers that have popped up in the last three years. 

"Didn't You Know How Much I Loved You" - is a great slow ballad that has plenty of great hooks, some nice shimmering acoustic guitar. I do not like the hard rock guitar but that is all that seems out of place, the dynamics are great and the song develops a great tension and works it out.

"I Wonder" - Another great ballad.  Pickler sounds mature, like this is her second or third recording, not her first CD. Love the way she works her vocals. This song has a real country sound all around.

"Small Town Girl" is an upbeat song with some real nice imagery in the lyrics. I love this song. "I'd rather ride in a chevy truck than a ferrari" Great back up vocals. The drums are great in the mix, and nice tight bass. 

Small Town Girl has a great mix of slow ballads and upbeat songs. A very well done CD. I see a couple of more radio hits at least. Blake Chancey has done a great job. This is a CD that really surprised me, one of the best Nashville country CDs this year.

Imprint Sony/BMG

Click on the CD cover to order yours!

1. Red High Heels 
2. Gotta Keep Moving 
3. Things That Never Cross A Man's Mind 
4. Didn't You Know How Much I Loved You 
5. I Wonder
6. Small Town Girl
7. Wild Ponies
8. Girls Like Me 
9. I'm On My Way 
10. One Of The Guys 
11. My Angel

Related Links:  
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Real People Reviews

I loved this cd. I was not a Pickler fan on AI of her singing, but I support the idols and buy their first albums, and later ones if I like them. I was so totally surprised how good this cd is. It is the only album of any genre I own that I like every song. I have also bought it to give as Christmas gifts. IMO, it should be selling better but she's not getting enough exposure here at Christmastime to really promote it with all the new ones coming out. Its a gem that a lot will overlook. 
~ Svanna

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