Debbie Hennessey,
Good as Gone
(Rustic Heart, 2006)

Let's get one thing straight from the beginning: Los Angeles-based country-rocker Debbie Hennessey can sing the shingles off a barn. Over the past few years, she's been named Artist of the Month by SongsAlive and AC40 Female Artist of the Year by New Music Weekly, she's picked up an ASCAPlus award and a host of other honors. This woman's credentials are not in question.

Put on Good as Gone and the first thing you notice is her voice, a strong, vibrant contralto that has as much surge and power as a Thunderbird. You'll be, for a few songs, entranced. Then, if you're me, you'll find yourself getting a little restless; your attention will begin to drift. Finally, you'll wonder why you're not having as much fun as you were just a few minutes ago.

It's not the songs. Hennessey writes pretty well herself and she has supplemented her own material with tunes by the likes of Kim Richey and Matracia Berg. For the most part, the material is solid. No, it's not the songs. It's the arrangements, the foundation, the bed upon which the songs rest, which are a touch too commonplace, too predictable. Built upon standard country-rock riffs, they don't offer a sense of adventure or newness, they don't bring anything unusual or provocative to the song -- they don't keep you listening avidly.

To my mind, they take what should be a very good CD and drop it a notch to simply good. I don't want to put you off because, as I said, her voice is magnificent, but the fact is Debbie Hennessey deserves a better framework for her voice and her songs. She needs a better producer and a better production.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Michael Scott Cain

12 May 2007

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