Since she straddled the line between mainstream country and Americana, Allison Moorer's records of the late '90s and early 2000s received critical acclaim but not much chart attention. She had a handful of hits at the turn of the century, but none that climbed into the country Top 40, which means that 2005's The Definitive Collection is less of a hits album than a retrospective on an underappreciated artist. As a matter of fact, the 19-track collection is missing her highest-charting single, "Think It Over," which peaked at 57 in 2000 (her other three charting singles -- "Set You Free," "A Soft Place to Fall," and "Send Down an Angel" -- are all here). While some casual listeners may indeed miss that tune, the collection is nevertheless an excellent overview of her work at the time of its release in 2005, containing five cuts from her 1998 debut, Alabama Song; three songs from 2000's The Hardest Part; a duet with los Straitjackets from their 2001 album ("I Ain't the One"); her contribution to the 2001 film soundtrack Songcatcher ("Moonshiner"); four tracks from 2002's Miss Fortune; her version of "Storms Never Last" from the 2003 Waylon Jennings tribute album, Lonesome, On'ry and Mean; and four cuts from 2003's live album, Show. Each of these records is quite good on its own terms, but this makes for an excellent introduction for the curious, and The Definitive Collection a strong listen in its own right as well.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine