Kellie Pickler
he Woman I Am
2014 – (Black River)



Reviewed by Michael Rampa


It’s hard to believe that, at 28, Kellie Pickler is the old guard of the country cutie crop. Years before  the likes of Danielle Bradberry,   Cassadee Pope and Maddie & Tae, Pickler stole the judges hearts on American Idol and “Red High Heels”  was a tween standard.  The cover art on her latest, “The Woman I Am,” showcases her sweet, sassy and sexy sides. It is an appropriate representation of what lies within. Throughout the 12 tracks, she sticks to her core competency of a contemporary sound and traditional country themes; only this time around, there’s a lot more attitude.  “Ring For Sale” is the girl anthem. It is a humorous break-up tale that brings Miranda Lambert immediately to mind. Much like the artist herself, the songs have an infectious personality with linear melodies and catchy choruses.

Traditional  country instrumentation is sparse save for the taste of a washboard and a bluesy acoustic on “Buzzin’’.’” The use of the twangy Telecaster fills the spaces where a fiddle or pedal steel could have been utilized.

The title track is an over the top effort to be one of the boys.

“I like my coffee black

Three ice cubes in my Jack

My daddy taught me to drink like a man,

That’s just the woman I am.”

The hyper macho lyrics clash with Pickler’s lilty soprano and silky timbre.

She is more vocally convincing on “Selma Drye,”gritty ode to her great grandmother who keeps a “.38 special and a can of snuff” in her apron.

Many contemporary country stars have forgone slick production to compensate  for the lack of traditional country themes in a genre plagued by  crossover fever. It is the opposite case here. Production is glossy and the writing is traditional. All in all, the Idol sweetheart doesn’t deviate much from her winning formula, she’s just a little more angry.