October 11, 2007

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Deana Carter, The Chain
Vanguard Records, Oct. 9
Lots of artists turning to cover songs nowadays, although it’s rare that those releases come with contributions from genre royalty. Aside from her barefootedness, former sorority girl Carter is famous for the four Billboard hits extracted from her 1996 LP “Did I Shave My Legs for This,” a song on the Sandra Bullock film Hope Floats, and Golden Globe and Grammy awards for “Once Upon a December” from the animated Fox film Anastasia. Vocally she’s much akin to Nanci Griffith trying to mimic Cyndi Lauper in a Trisha Yearwood mood, a trademark sound that’s a little too real for Wal-Mart overhead speakers (Faith Hill she ain’t). Carter herself produced this record, a study in tearjerker torch, glitchy alt-country and train-hobo-oldies that begins with Carter delivering Roy Orbison’s “Crying” in a detached swoon that puts her crackly non-glossiness to good use. Soon enough, countryzillas begin lumbering into the studio, the more sensible Carter showing up the more crazy Dolly Parton in their duet version of Dolly’s famous fluff-piece “Love is Like a Butterfly,” after which Carter re-does “On The Road Again” as a slow back-porch ballad with Willie Nelson. B-Eric W. Saeger