Country Music has become one of the most-listened-to genres in America – that’s a fact. But, it’s also true that fans who were glued to their radios in the 1970s and 1980s listening to music like Barbara Mandrell, Kenny Rogers, and Crystal Gayle might still long to hear some of those great emotional moments that made those artists household names. While everyone knows who they are, you might not be as aware of people like Tom Collins, Larry Butler, or Allen Reynolds – who gave those artists the musical canvas to create some of the most evocative moments on records of that period.
If you fall in that category, might I suggest the new disc from the talented Kelly Lang. Known for her vivacious personality and warm vocal approach, this album has a definite throwback feel to it – giving a nice nod to the sounds of those aforementioned artists. Performances such as the sensual title cut and “Last One Standing In The Rain” brim with an emotional undercurrent that will no doubt move you – but also comes complete with that dramatic production of the music that influenced Lang so well.
Take a listen to “Don’t Play Games With Me,” and if you don’t hear Mandrell or Tammy Wynette all over it, you’re not listening close enough – and it has nothing to do with the subtitle of the song being “Barbie and Ken” – as Ken just happens to be the name of Mandrell’s husband of five decades. Coincidence? Sure, with the legendary Mattel dolls featuring those names, but the song definitely takes one back in time.
When Lang sings a heartfelt lyric, you can’t help but be moved. Perhaps the greatest example of this is on the exquisite feel of “His Guitar,” which will stop you in your tracks. Lyrically, it just might be Lang’s strongest performance as a tunesmith, and she applies a layer of sincerity to the track that makes you believe that she has lived every word! Another standout on the album is the gorgeous “Under A Tennessee Moon,” which stands as an earnest tribute to many of the legends who have come before in the industry. Again, it’s written by Lang – along with everything else on the album.
If you go into Obsession thinking you’re going to hear something geared toward Top-40 radio, think again. That’s not what Lang does. But, if you want stirring and passionate lyrics, complete with the production that accentuates each and every line and every note, give this album a listen. It just might influence you to listen to some of the greats that inspired her – you’ll be the better for it, I promise!