# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Kerri Powers - You Ne And A Red Head

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 2 / 9 / 2002

Kerri Powers - You Ne And A Red Head
Label: X-country
Format: CD


"Emotive" debut album from major new alt.country talent, Kerri Powers

Do we really need what is in essence another country album by another singer from the growing army of female singer/songwriters who can be classed as being part of the alt. country scene? There are albums aplenty out there already by the originals like Patsy Cline and Tammy Wynette. Then we have Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams turning out albums which get better with every release. And that is without the never ending stream of new talent which seems to be emerging all the time. Well, the answer has to be “Yes” if the album in question is as solid as this offering from Kerri Powers. The first song that New Englander Kerri ever played in public was Tammy Wynette’s ‘Apartment #9’ and listening to the opening and title track of this album, this would make sense with Kerri’s vocals recalling those of Wynette. The song is actually more in a country rock vein than the radio friendly country favoured by Wynette. The work of Bonnie Raitt and Lucinda Williams comes to mind. It is a good song ,but it is overshadowed by the following track, ‘What’s A Lonesome Girl To Do?’. This is where we get the first hint that Powers is more than just another act that can be loosely tagged alt. country. It’s a heartbreaking ballad dealing with the classic country theme of love gone wrong. Kerri (who wrote 10 of the 11 tracks on show here) has a very neat and clever way with words. “You’re somewhere lately I don’t fit in, it feels like we are strangers in this house we live” and “I don’t know whether to cry or be cool” are sung with such emotion on this song that one can’t help but feel that if the song had Lucinda Williams as the composer it would be instantly hailed as the classic it so obviously is. But there is another side to Powers. The following track, ‘Self Made Man’, is a downright cutting missive (to a former lover?) full of dirty twangy guitar and Powers sounding like the type of woman you wouldn’t want to cross in a hurry as she spits out lyrics like “You have a wife, you bought a wife, knowing you you’re just renting”. It shows the ease in which Powers can switch form the fragile, lost girl in ‘What’s A Lonesome Girl To Do’ to the spiteful, experienced woman in ‘Self Made Man’ in a heartbeat. I could really go on to describe each of the 11 songs in some detail as each one tells it’s own compelling story. In ‘f-150’, for example, Powers offers up the old country theme about loving one’s truck more than one’s lover but, of course, it’s unusual to hear it from a the female angle. Perhaps what makes Kerri’s vocals stand out more than those usually found on a country based album is the sensuality in her voice. I’m not the only one to notice it here and it’s something that I have not noticed on an album like this before. To put it simply she sounds damn hot! Add to this the feeling one gets from her lyrics that Powers understands most of life’s little problems and it makes her an appealing person indeed. But back to the music and on ‘Daddy Don’t Fall Down’ we have Kerri showing her tender side again. Touching lyrics written from a five-year-olds perspective who is worrying about her father’s job working on power lines. “I’d listen to his words and I still do” and “I’m afraid that I’d lose him if I closed my eyes” are just a couple of the lines that Powers delivers with her affecting vocals. Again, it should be noted that ,if this song appeared on a Patsy Cline album years ago, it would now be considered as a classic. A couple of songs down the line and Powers has taken the tougher stance again with ‘Don’t Tell Me’. A country blues song showcases again the two different sides Powers displays so well on this album. The closing track, an acoustic ballad, ‘Nolan’s Song’, written for her son, is blessed with an aching melody and touching lyrics which, given the subject matter could have been easily over sentimental, but such is Kerri’s way with lyrics she manages to avoid this. I’ve quoted a lot of lyrics in this review. I make no apologises for this. Bereft of the gorgeous melodies and strong vocals they obviously lose some of their beauty on paper, but Kerri’s skill at writing lyrics really is outstanding. Maybe the line “2am empty streets, stop sign telling me I’m going nowhere sitting in the driver’s seat” loses something when not accompanied by Kerri’s emotive vocals. All l I can suggest is that if the work of Mary Chapin Carpenter or Lucinda Williams means anything to you then try to steal a listen of this album somehow. You will not be disappointed. A major talent is emerging here, no doubt.

Track Listing:-
1 You, Me And A Redhead
2 What's A Lonesome Girl To Do
3 Self-made Man
4 Four Wheel Drive
5 Daddy Don't Fall Down
6 F-150
7 Don't Tell Me
8 Hard Road I Ride
9 Battle Row
10 More & More
11 Nolan's Song

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