Listen Up: Wednesday, May 8, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Jessica Andrews

Now (Dreamworks Records)

By Ken Shimamoto

If Patsy Cline were here, she’d be turning in her grave.

Listening to the opening notes of “There’s More to Me Than You,” it’s immediately evident that there’s a lot more Mutt Lange than Shelby Singleton in Jessica Andrews’ country tunes. Sure, the “dogged” producer of AC/DC, Def Leppard, and Foreigner has done the business for wifey Shania Twain, and who can blame Tennessee teen Andrews for wanting to emulate such stellar success? Who cares if the only way Andrews’ music is identifiable as country is by the presence of totally superfluous banjos and steel guitars in the glossy mix? If she plays her cards right (e.g., exposed midriff, navel piercing), little hottie Andrews could easily parlay Now, her latest c.d., into 2003 Rolling Stone covergirlhood.

A big-lunged gal with a hint of Stevie Nicks’ quiver in her voice (a definite plus for a country chanteuse these days, since the Dixie Chicks scored a big hit with a Fleetwood Mac cover last year), Andrews has a way with a power ballad. Producer Byron Gallimore surely had visions of Britney-like superstardom when he first heard Andrews back around the time she was starting high school. Since then, she’s been voted best new female vocalist by the Country Music Association and scored a No. 1 Billboard country hit with “Who I Am.”

To her credit, Andrews actually penned a couple of the tunes here, and she invests material like “You’re the Man (Who Brings the Woman Out of Me)” with a lot more throb and ache than you might expect from a 19-year-old — shades of Busta’s sister LeAnn Rimes all over the place. Who knows, in a couple of years, maybe we’ll be reading about Andrews firing her father?


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