Terri Clark

Terri Clark

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Canadian country singer Terri Clark made her American major-label debut with Mercury Nashville. Co-produced by Keith Stegall and Chris Waters, this solidly assembled set of 12 songs signaled the arrival of a star. Clark wasn't only a pretty face with a voice; she arrived in Nashville a polished, accomplished songwriter who was given the "rare opportunity" (some call it stubbornness, and some call it recalcitrant artistic integrity, but they're both the same thing in this case) to record her own songs on her first recording. In Nash Vegas, that's done rather infrequently -- even Vince Gill was only able to contribute two tunes to his MCA debut. Clark wrote 11 of 12 here and scored immediately with her blend of hard honky tonk-style traditionalism, classic country balladry, rock & roll aesthetics, and pop savvy. "Better Things to Do" is a fine display of this, as is the swaggering, bluesy "Flowers After the Fact." "Was There a Girl on Your Boy's Night Out" is a lean and mean honky tonk rocker, and of the ballads, "If I Were You" and "The Inside Story" are delivered with conviction and sincerity. Terri Clark is an auspicious debut, but hindsight being 20/20, it only hints at what she was really capable of, as displayed on later recordings.

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