Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Deanna - Luckiest Woman

DeAnna - Luckiest Woman
2011, Curdea Entertainment, Inc.

DeAnna is a small-town girl from Saskatchewan who continues the tradition of great Canadian country music artists.  No stranger to Nashville, DeAnna has been associated with Playgroup Entertainment and Dirtbag Music (Warner Music Group) over the past five years, both as a writer and recording artist.  DeAnna steps out on her own in 2011 with her full-length debut album, Luckiest Woman.  With comparisons to Gretchen Wilson, Sheryl Crow and Taylor Swift, this little lady with the big voice is going to open some eyes.

Luckiest Woman opens with "Scorned", an all-points warning that straddles the boundaries of country and pop.  Don't be surprised if this song turns up on a radio dial near you; it could easily penetrate both country and adult contemporary radio formats.  "No Apologies" is straightforward pop/country; a bit bland and sung/played all in one dynamic.  DeAnna's voice is a pleasant alto, but her writing may suggest a limited range, as she rarely seems to pass out of her selected octave.  "Miss Invisible" is written in a solid pop format with country accoutrements.  It's a universal theme for anyone who has ever felt left behind in the relationship game.  The sentiment here comes across as genuine, and DeAnna is properly emotive, but there's a lack of dynamic range apparent that begins to wear on the listener.

"Atlanta's Burnin' Down" carries with it a southern rock flavor that's unmistakable.  This cover is perhaps the bravest selection on Luckiest Woman, as DeAnna is forced to stretch a great deal to get to Billy Ray Reynold's high notes.  The song works, but doesn't have the charisma of the Dickey Betts version.  "Can't Go Wrong (Budger's Song)" is a catchy bit of upbeat southern rock and country.  What starts out as a fun song becomes a confusing and intellectually dissonant effort with the addition of the bridge.  The attempt to contrast a lucky time with a later bad time doesn't work because of the lack of transition or explanation for the change. 

"Luckiest Woman" is a formulaic pop love ballad done up in country instrumentation; a decent enough song but not dynamic or interesting enough to hold attention past a handful of listens.  DeAnna recovers well with "Jeans Don't Make The Cowgirl", a solid pop/country number with anthem potential.  This is a great tune for ladies night and has real commercial potential.  Don't be surprised if a big name artist picks this tune up somewhere down the line and makes a hit out of it.  "Misunderstood" stays in the comfortable realm of pop/country and mostly maintains DeAnna in her comfortable vocal range.  The shining moment of the song is when she breaks into her upper range for a line or two and handles the shift quite capably.  The song carries a positive theme blending "don't judge a book by its cover" with the power of an act of kindness to change lives.  It's a nice tune that could be more.

"Old Red Ford" is a song of remembrance centered around a truck that looks back on love, adventure and romance.  This is one of the best examples of pop/country songwriting on the album, and DeAnna displays a vocal energy here that listeners would appreciate more of.  "Ain't Gonna Steal My Thunder" is a solid pop/country anthem that was previously released on a Navy SEALS tribute album.  It's a solid entry here that adds a little zest.  Luckiest Woman closes with a pop radio mix of "Miss Invisible" that fails to improve on the original and may actually be a step backward.

DeAnna's Luckiest Woman is a solid effort from an artist who has bought heavily into the pop/country songwriting style propagated by the Music Row machine.  Luckiest Woman occasionally shows flashes of originality, but DeAnna's songwriting, like her voice, tends to stay in a compact, comfortable range.   Without risks or attempts to stretch the boundaries, Luckiest Woman is mildly appealing to folks who listen to commercial country radio, but lacks the originality and sense of personality that creates a sensation.  Luckiest Woman is a nice listen, but it's not likely to call you back.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Deanna at www.deannaofficial.com or on FacebookLuckiest Woman is available digitally via Amazon.com and iTunes.