Just the other day I was talking music with a radio friend of mine, and we both agreed that the first cut on a CD should be the best song on the disk, especially for new artists. Our reasoning was that a radio programmer gets so many CDs, if the first song doesn't catch them they may well switch to the next disk in the pile.
Someone should have told Amber Schneider about this. The lead cut is bubble gummy and bad. It makes her sound like a 13-year-old with limited range, and a sound rather common to young singers.
While Schneider picked a clunker to lead her debut CD, there is a message here for radio people, listen a bit deeper into CDs too. In this case you will find a voice with surprising power, and some killer songs.
The second cut is the title cut, and while the sound gets away from country, and more into modern rock, it's a killer cut.
Ditto to the song Drown Me In It.
Then Schneider comes at the listener with Ordinary Kind of Guy, a song that is very much today's country, catchy lyrics, no depth, and a sound the world could do without another clone of.
It's pretty clear Schneider should be shaking off the country mantle, and move more into pop/rock. The more countrified the song is here, the weaker it is. It's almost as if Schneider just goes through the motions on those songs.
That said, Schneider was a nominee for Saskatchewan Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year, and Fearless was up for Album of the Year.
When a song gets a bit bigger and bolder, like Fearless, then this gal let's go, and wow, it gets good. Sadly, there are just too few wows here, but on the best of this CD you can hear a star wanting to break free.
Check her out at www.amberschneider.com
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper April 23, 2008 - Yorkton, SK. Canada