Cassandra Vasik

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Her second album fuses a traditional sound -- like the Patsy Cline-ish opener "Sadly Mistaken" -- with a modern and somewhat mysterious edge and look. The best songs feature an organic blend of acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, fiddle, dobro, pedal steel and harmonica. Unfortunately, several others, including the lush, monster ballad "Almost Like You Cared," resort to that dreaded synth-strings crutch. Still, every nuance of Vasik's delivery suggests "contemporary woman," sensitive and introspective but also self-assured and firmly in control of her own destiny.