by Chuck Dauphin
OK, first of all, this is the Robin Meade—the one that wakes us up each morning on Headline News’ Morning Express. So, I bet you are thinking, ‘Here we go, another one ‘Gone Country.’ Well, you better not rush to judgment that quickly. Meade, who was a singer before her news days, is not just your average singer trying to sound “Country.” She is the real deal and it shows all over this Target / iTunes exclusive disc. Let’s just say Robin Meade sings so good that viewers of FOX news would probably like it!
But, that being said, there’s a lot to like about this album. Meade, who has been a regular visitor to Nashville while hosting many industry functions, wisely surrounds herself with the cream of the crop of Music City talents. Victoria Shaw, who helped Lady Antebellum gain prominence, produced the project, and some of the writers who are featured include John Rich, Gary Burr, Due West’s Matt Lopez, and Robin herself, co-writing six of the twelve cuts. Musician-wise? Not too shabby. Names like B. James Lowry, Eddie Bayers, and Bruce Bouton can be heard throughout the disc. So, she has the best around her. But, if Meade doesn’t have the talent, then all the great writers, producers, and pickers in the world isn’t going to save her from being somebody else from outside the format who is trying to fake her way in to the show.
However, one listen to the album, and I think you’ll agree that Meade rises to the challenge and meets it dead on. She’s not a TV personality that can sing. Her voice exudes a certain charm and charisma, which comes to life immediately on cuts like the sexy and confident “Put My High Heels On” and the sassy and personality-filled “Letting It Go.”
Shaw does a dynamite job throughout in the producer’s chair, letting Meade be the star, but also making coming up with some cool arrangements throughout, especially on “Rain.” Meade also scores on the ballads, with the best being the Shaw-Jennifer Hanson written story song “In Valentine.” It sounds like something you might have heard on Country Radio following a Marty Robbins hit from 1972, and I mean that as a total compliment. It is a truly compelling performance, one that is well worth the price of the CD alone. She also turns in a gorgeous vocal on Richard Marx’s classic “Right Here Waiting,” a duet with Bo Bice.
Credit Meade for not hiding from who she is, either. One of the highlights of the disc is the soaring “Morning Sunshine,” which she co-wrote with Billy Dean. Of course, the phrase is one of her on-air trademarks, and the closing song, “Dirty Laundry,” the Don Henley hit, contains lyrics that would have to make an award-winning journalist just shake her head. She handles the track with a commanding presence, and is joined by Shaw, Burr, Bice, Kix Brooks, and Sarah Buxton. It’s a head-turning performance, not just on the track, but the whole album.
It’s apparent that Meade isn’t just your run of the mill TV reporter who just happens to have a passable voice to get her into the Sunday choir. She can handle a note with 99% of the singers out there, and has the spunk and charm to endear her to audiences of all types. Basically, as her co-writer on the album, John Rich might say, Robin Meade isn’t just good, She kicks ass! And, there’s not many “full-time” singers you’ll hear me say that about!
For more on Meade, go to www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/morning.express/
To buy this album visit iTunes, or go to www.target.com/
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