In a world where the singer/songwriter has taken empowerment to extraordinary sales and chart levels, few interpreters have had the opportunity to push someone else's message across with the same authority as the copyright holders. Veteran country-pop legend Jeannie Kendall in her first full solo album (her previous disc containing the final collaborations with Royce Kendall, her dad) issues a tremendous work of diverse and catchy music, an elaborately produced platform where her familiar and telling vocals deliver the goods as if she wrote each tune herself. The country sound longtime fans yearn for is here in "Just a Memory" and "Your Picture, Your Pillow and Me," material and performance that would make the venerable Kitty Wells proud. But just as traditional country & western has evolved, Kendall comfortably follows what is expected with a clever mix of AAA, Celtic, and on "Keep Us Warm," driving hard pop that somehow fits perfectly into this unique collection. Producers Mike Stults and Brian Fisher fashion contemporary sounds in their complex mix, instrumentation perfectly melting behind Kendall's sublime expression. "All the Girls I Am (The Penny Whistle Song)" is explosive compared to the up-tempo optimism ballad "Make a Dance." The Celtic mantra title track opens up this very interesting album with violin, viola, cello, compelling guitar, and a penny whistle, of course, all in a mesmerizing swirl with the harmony vocals. It's a pretty amazing combination reminiscent of Loreena McKennitt's work. And it sets the stage for veteran songwriter Harriet Schock's stunning "You Just Don't Get Me -- Do You?" Decades after Helen Reddy realized Schock's classic debut, "That Ain't No Way to Treat a Lady," Kendall takes this double-entendre relationship-in-question pop delicacy to number one on the New Music Weekly Hot A/C chart as well as Top Five at Friday Morning Quarterback. It's powerful stuff, one of those tunes that you crank up to full volume and dance around the room to. "Heaven & Mexico" brings the party to another phase, Spanish horns helping define as clearly as the viola and cello put an original stamp on the first track. Utilizing Jackie DeShannon's vocal pleadings in parts of the record -- especially on "Wild Honey," which musically drifts into the Beatles' "Free as a Bird" territory -- Kendall indulges the many colors she has picked up on her life's journey. It all culminates in another great Harriet Schock tune, the tender "Worn Around the Edges" from producer Nik Venet's final masterpiece, the Rosebud album. Co-written by Arthur Hamilton (of "Cry Me a River" fame), it adds an exclamation point to this deep and entertaining disc. Material fitted with strong hooks and superior performance, Kendall re-emerges triumphant with this very impressive and important musical statement.
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AllMusic Review by Joe Viglione