Susan Hickman,
Susan Hickman
(4L Clover, 2010)

With Susan Hickman, you get to hear the debut disc of a strong singer, a woman with a great set of pipes and an adventurous soul; the closing song is a countrified version of Gregg Allman's "Whipping Post." There's a lot to like here.

Unfortunately, the album isn't all good times and great feelings. While Susan Hickman definitely showcases the singers' talents, it also shows us a set of songs where one of two things is going on; the producer, Doug Deforest, either wanted to show as many aspects of Hickman as he could, or the album reveals a woman who hasn't quite found her way past her influences yet.

Listening to it, you think, OK, here's the Martina McBride song, here's the Miranda Lambert, now we've got the Jo Dee Messina -- there are too few instances where you feel you're hearing an original talent.

I don't think that the overall effect is Hickman's fault. She delivers everything that is asked of her and, while I could be flat wrong on this, it sounds to me as if she were let down by her production people. Somebody -- either Hickman or the producer -- wanted a radio-friendly album and was willing to sacrifice her uniqueness to get it.

Better luck in the future, Susan.

music review by
Michael Scott Cain

21 August 2010

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