No one will accuse Holly Wynnette of being a big-voiced belter. The country-pop/adult contemporary singer has a small, thin voice, and she brings a waifish approach to her debut album, My Future Ex-Boyfriend (which was co-produced by music industry veteran Ray Ruff). Nonetheless, she usually gets her points across, and when Wynnette has the right material to work with, her sweetly charming vulnerability serves her well. At times, Wynnette is saddled with inappropriate material. "Come Lay It on Me" and "You Can't Do That" are spunky country/rock/pop numbers that call for someone who has a bigger voice and a gutsier, more aggressive delivery -- perhaps Patty Loveless, perhaps Shania Twain, perhaps Tanya Tucker, perhaps Trisha Yearwood -- and Wynnette is simply too waifish to be convincing on this type of song. But elsewhere, her waifishness proves to be an advantage. "Spotlight" and "Love Where You Are" are the sort of sentimental ballads that allow Wynnette to fully embrace her sweet, girlish vulnerability; consequently, they work well for her. That isn't to say that she is only successful on ballads; one of the CD's best tracks is the catchy, up-tempo title song. But whether she is singing at a slow, medium, or fast tempo, Wynnette is at her best when she has vulnerable lyrics to go with her waif-like voice. The singer fares well on a cover of Leiber & Stoller's "I (Who Have Nothing)" and would probably fare equally well if she covered Wanda Jackson's "Right or Wrong," but she would not be convincing on something as spunky as Twain's "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!." Although uneven, My Future Ex-Boyfriend has more ups than downs -- and its best tracks make the listener want to keep an eye on Wynnette and see how she develops.
My Future Ex-Boyfriend Review
by Alex Henderson