Faith Hill

Take Me as I Am

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Faith Hill's debut established the willowy singer as the lady-in-waiting to Reba McEntire's throne. Like McEntire, Hill's voice could crackle just as well as it sparkled, and Take Me as I Am allowed her to do both. The wide-open abandon of the hit single "Wild One" was immediate and undeniable, and Hill delivered the vocal with sassy, youthful exuberance. But she was just as convincing on the low-key heart-tugger "Just About Now" and the Gary Burr-penned ballad "Just Around the Eyes." She figured out a way to channel Janis Joplin's vocal during a country-fried retelling of "Piece of My Heart," in spite of a canned meat-quality backing track, and handled the Larry Steward duet "I've Got This Friend" with ease. By focusing Hill's vocal and supporting her with unobtrusive instrumentation, producers Burr and Scott Hendricks helped make Take Me as I Am that much more effective, and ensured that no one would forget about Hill anytime soon.

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