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Martina Mcbride
Martina McBride is something of a marvel. Throughout her career she has managed to walk a tightrope between Nash-Vegas commercial concerns and the high art of well-crafted songwriting and serious singing that makes up modern country at its best. Her hits in the Nineties ("Wild Angels," Independence Day," "Life #9," "Safe in the Arms of Love") were beacons of light in a darkness of clichéd and over-produced cowboy-disco tunes. Martina continues her tradition of tasteful tune picking and powerful but never over-the-top vocals. "This One's for the Girls" mines much missed Mary Chapin Carpenter territory, while tunes like "In My Daughter’s Eyes" and "So Magical" (with its scenes of rural bliss) stay safely this side of excessive sentimentality thanks to McBride's considered performances. Even pop tunes like "When You Love Me" and "Learning to Fall" are kept country with an emphasis on guitars, fiddles, and steels over syrupy synthesizers. Throughout, producers Paul Worley and McBride herself give Nashville lessons on how to make a record that is shiny but never slick. Finally, her live performance of "Over the Rainbow" is a lesson on delivering a show-stopping vocal with minimal melisma and maximum soul.
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