Alecia Nugent,
Alecia Nugent
(Rounder, 2004)

If you're looking for something old as well as something new, I think you'd be pleasantly surprised by newcomer Alecia Nugent. Her voice has a timeless quality -- an honest, straightforward singing style in a manner similar to Loretta Lynn or Emmylou Harris. She has a very strong voice yet doesn't overpower the accompaniment.

Whether it's old songs, such as "But I Do" or "Think of What You've Done," or new, such as "Blame It on the Train" or "My First Mistake," she proves equally capable of making songs her own. It's a lovely paradox: she has a fresh sound yet sounds like one of the "old guard" of the Nashville scene. It also doesn't hurt that Nashville heavyweight Carl Jackson produced this album, giving her talent a bit of "oomph."

Another great thing about Nugent's performance on this album is her versatility. Country, bluegrass, gospel -- she can handle it. For instance, take two instances in the gospel song "You Don't Have to Go Home." One: she can handle the heaviness of gospel without sounding like someone on a Sunday morning access channel. Two: she can share the spotlight, keeping a strong presence while not overpowering other singers (in this case, Rhonda Vincent and Sonya Isaacs, both vocal powerhouses in their own right).

After hearing Alecia Nugent's debut album, it wouldn't surprise me at all if she becomes a country/bluegrass superstar. She's starting off with the bar raised really high, but I don't doubt that she will continue with the standard that she's established. Keep Alecia Nugent on your musical radar -- she's bound to produce great music.

- Rambles
written by C. Nathan Coyle
published 17 July 2004

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