Lorrie Morgan

Show Me How

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It would be unkind to point out that Lorrie Morgan looks a little the worse for wear on the cover of Show Me How -- if she didn't do a song on that very subject on the album ("Now my idea of letting it all hang out/Sure has changed with time/And that's hard on a bombshell"), and if she didn't have a perfect right. So it's doubly a pleasure to find that Morgan sounds, at an age that usually takes its toll on the tight throats of female country vocalists, better than ever. Check out the perfectly controlled descent into baritone territory in "I Can Count on You," one of four songs here in which songwriter Angela Kaset, the creator of Morgan's mega-hit "Something in Red," had a hand. In other ways, too, Show Me How feels like a reunion of the forces who created Morgan's long string of smart country-pop hits in the 1990s. Morgan rejoins with producer Richard Landis, who once again mixes classic keyboard-based sounds that put Morgan front and center with fun, funky electronic experiments. The songs he and Morgan select range from good to superb, with "Used" (Bekka Bramlett and James House) a particular standout; they showcase Morgan's sense of humor and play to her usual strengths in the genres of the breakup ballad and everywoman barroom encounter song. And it's especially good, in this era of Nashville smugness, to hear a song ("Rocks") that takes swipes at both racism and anti-gay bigotry. How much of a hearing Morgan will get for this independent-label release remains to be seen, but her longtime fans will be well satisfied, and so will anyone else who happens upon it or seeks it out.

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