Ms. Cowdery knows how to craft rhythm and melody in a country MOR vein more listenably than most, and, considering she was working with Don Dixon, she managed to grab hold of a better backing band than might be expected (esp. Michael Lipton, a dyed-in-the-wool laidback picker with tons of coloration and an extremely confident hand), but there are a number of problems. First, Don Dixon. I have all his LPs and ain't impressed. Second, Cowdery's voice isn't so much a singer's pipes as, say, a mother singing for her children. Then there's a bit of lacking luster in songs almost there, but it's important to know that all these were recorded live in the studio over the course of only two days, which shifts the way the disc is listened to, adding respect.
Cowdery's real strength seems to be her simple but insightful lyrics, breadbasket sentiments sometimes hiding a world of down-home wisdom, but always well-couched in the full rural patois. Ornery, too (catch State of Mine), and I like that. Saving for Love shows how quickly she can find the depths in simple interactions:
Driving down the freeway in the fast lane track
I don't believe in war
I Believe is a very cool tune as well. I'm not nuts about the Christian sentiment but the track has a lazy beauty and the anthemics are exactly right for AM radio. I can see it going over well on the country circuit, a perfect marriage of mellow rock and C&W. There's also enough folk to keep that genre happy, as in Now and Then, but mainly RJ likes being a take-no-guff daughter of the sod. If you're minded that way, you could do worse than One More Door, an' ya might even wanna catch her live. If'n you do, tell her I said she needs to not only stake Lipton to a pole in the back yard so he can't wander off, but also to tell Dixon to bring that gee-tar a bit more to the front in the mix…and then turn it over to someone else.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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