Leslie Satcher

This Paris native's debut album hopes to have it both ways, and it sometimes succeeds. Like most Nashville-based singers, her voice is largely twang-free, suited for pop as much as country, but it's undeniably intimate. Producer Luke Wooten provides a typically radio-friendly, drum-heavy sound that would also be the Music City norm if it didn't leave so much space for fiddle, steel guitar, and Dobro. On "A Man With Eighteen Wheels," she's unabashedly country enough to revive, with a saucy whoop of anticipation, that long-lost genre of the truck-driving song. Her remake of "Ode to Billie Joe," the only song she didn't have a hand in writing, broadens the unrelentingly stoic sorrow of the original by bouncing around between anguish, anger, incredulity, and fear. And the hidden bonus track, "White," is as un-Nashville as contemporary country gets, confronting the subject of racial hatred using only horse-hooves-and-thunder sound effects and her a cappella vocals. Though Satcher is occasionally guilty of trite lyrics or oversinging, her career is off to a promising start.

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