For fans of individual characters on the ABC series Nashville -- where the actors actually perform the songs in the show -- Big Machine's series of character-driven albums makes perfect sense. While it's true that all of the songs that Clare Bowen performed as Scarlett O'Connor have been issued on the series' four individual soundtracks, this 14-song set collects only those she performed in season one. She's one of the series' most enjoyable performers and though not a "trained" singer, she is a natural, earthy one. She initially established her character as a poet who began writing, then singing, songs. Most of the set's highlights are her duets with Sam Palladio. "If I Didn't Know Better" is a fine, smoky, acoustic blues that paves the way for the slippery, late-night, jazzy waltz that is "Fade Into You." "I Will Fall" is one of two heartbreakingly beautiful love songs; the other is "Loving You Is the Only Way to Fly," co-written by Rodney Crowell, Sarah Buxton, and Jedd Hughes. "Looking for a Place to Shine" is a solo effort that showcases modern country pop arranged to sound old-school, but it works mainly because of Bowen's delivery. The set's closer, the gentle soft rock waltz "Moon Is High," is a duet with Jonathan Jackson that sends the set off on a sultry note.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek