Saturday, April 2, 2011

CD Review: "Steel Magnolia" - Steel Magnolia

CD: Steel Magnolia
Artist: Steel Magnolia
Released: January 2011
Label: Big Machine Records

When Steel Magnolia first performed on CMT's second season of "Can You Duet", if you were watching, you knew this was the start of something different for country music. The voices and personalities of real life couple, Joshua Scott Jones and Meghan Linsey, were made for each other. Like Lindsay Lohan and scandal, some things were meant to be together. They bring a bluesy, raspy sound that you don't hear from most artists.The duo went on to win "Can You Duet" and since then, they've won in country music by getting signed by Big Machine Records and releasing a top selling debut self-titled cd in January 2011.

"Steel Magnolia" consists of 12 tracks, each uniquely crafted to the rich harmonies of the duo. The lead in single for the cd, "Keep on Loving You" is a great, upbeat tempo tune that truly showcases the strength and backbone of Josh and Meghan's vocal ability. The song took to the charts landing at #5, not too shabby for a debut single from two artists that seemed to just come out of nowhere. Personally, I wish it had done a little better than #5. I think they hurt themselves by releasing a slow, kinda cheesy ballad, "Just by Being You (Halo and Wings)" as their follow up to such a strong showing with their first hit. The song didn't seem to be received very well and peaked at #25, but hey, every artist is entitled to one song that just doesn't cut the mustard. What I love about Steel Magnolia is that they infuse a hint of pop sound but not enough to consider them "crossover" material. They keep just enough twang and country respect in their music and that makes it work with country music fans.

The remainder of the cd is good, not great, but definitely somewhere in between. While the first track on the cd, "Ooh La La", isn't my cup of coffee, a little too "Sonny and Cher-ish" for me, I do like "Bulletproof". I think it showcases Meghan's vocals very well and gives Josh a little of a backing vocals role whereas "Not Tonight" does completely the opposite and gives Josh a chance to shine as lead vocalist. I love the way this cd focuses on them as a duo yet still shines a light their individual talent. "Homespun Love" amps it up a bit, starts the feet tapping and shows what Steel Magnolia is all about - a little rowdiness combined with a little sexiness and flirtiness. Love it! The cd is worth checking out and in my opinion, a good cd. Like I said, I don't think it's outstanding, but it is definitely good and worth purchasing if you still purchase entire cds in the world of MP3's and iTunes.

You can purchase "Steel Magnolia" pretty much anywhere music is sold, including Best Buy, Walmart, Target, and iTunes.