Celeste Krenz

My Mother and Me

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It sounds like an artist's nightmare. After you've established yourself as a singer/songwriter with a handful of albums, your mother turns up with a sheaf of songs (just lyrics, of course) that she wrote 20 years ago when she wanted to be a songwriter and proposes that you work on them with her. She even has some written by your grandmother and your uncle! Celeste Krenz actually had this experience in January 2008, and, as she puts it in the liner notes to this album, "With some reservation, we sat down at the kitchen table." As it happens, the result is far from nightmarish. On the six songs out of 12 on which Krenz has collaborated with her relatives on My Mother and Me, everyone escapes without embarrassment. In fact, one of the songs, "Have You Ever?," a co-write by Krenz, her mother Jean Krenz, and her uncle Bob Dillon (credited as "RBD"), is among the better tunes on the disc. That said, the best songs are found among the other six. Krenz is one of the many talented singer/songwriters in Nashville (her breathy alto voice owes something to Linda Ronstadt and Olivia Newton-John) whose best hope of success probably resides in the possibility of getting a song covered by a major artist, and there are several possibilities here, starting with the lead-off track, "Little Things," and including "Where the River Goes" and "You Can't Love Me from Over There," the last two co-compositions with other Nashville writers. It would be easy to imagine one or more of these songs being cut by, say, Faith Hill, in a somewhat more commercial arrangement, even though they are performed perfectly adequately here. The maternal angle makes for a good story, but it's still Krenz herself who shows the most potential.

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