The true definition of a crossover artist is one who has no boundaries or genre restrictions. Okay, that may not be Webster’s definition but it’s pretty close. Reba McEntire is such an artist. She is also a major triple threat. Movies, Television, and music: Reba has achieved it all. She has the admiration of millions of fans worldwide and has been the inspiration of many of today’s top performers.
With her latest CD “Duets,” she has erased all musical barriers again by selecting songs and singers from all facets of the music industry. Country, rock and pop are all represented in this collection. There isn’t a bad track or pairing in the bunch. That’s a very difficult thing to accomplish in today’s world of pop music where there may be one or two gems on a release and the rest of the songs are merely fillers.
The first single from the CD is the powerful ballad “Because Of You,” performed with and written by pop sensation Kelly Clarkson. The duo first performed this song in public on the CMT special “Crossroads.” It is undeniable Clarkson’s best and most heartfelt song so far in her young career. It’s hard to believe she originally wrote the song when she was 16 years old. Both Reba and Kelly’s vocal stylings mesh incredibly well and compliment each other throughout the track. It is the perfect first single. Other pairings on the CD are just as good. The first track with LeAnn Rimes “When You Love Someone Like That,” is a great opener and is a great reminder how good a vocalist Rimes really is. Although Reba has said she has filled this CD with duets sung with her friends it is obvious the melding harmonies are no accident or fluke. There is a perfect marriage between the voices. It is fresh and clean sounding. No studio tricks or effects are needed or wanted on this CD. This is a good as it gets.
Carole King makes a wonderful return to recording with the song “Everyday People.” “Every Other Weekend,” with Kenny Chesney is a sentimental country song that works on every level. “Does The Wind Still Blow In Oklahoma?” with Ronnie Dunn is another powerhouse country ballad that tugs at the heartstrings just enough to keep your attention. For me, ballads have always been a strongpoint in Reba’s repertoire throughout her career. Her voice is perfect for the sentiment needed in her love songs.
The most surprising track on the CD is with pop heavyweight, Mr. “Sexy Back,” Justin Timberlake. The song, “The Only Promise That Remains,” was written by Justin and Matt Morris specifically for McEntire. Though his vocals are heard mainly on the chorus and in the background, his higher range style is unmistakable. It may not be the strongest track on the CD but it is certainly one of the most interesting pairings of the 11 songs. Other duets with Reba on the CD include artists Rascal Flatts, Trisha Yearwood, Vince Gill, Faith Hill, and Don Henley.
If you’re out there in the stores looking for a good solid CD to purchase and you don’t want to waste your money my best bet is “Reba Duets.” If you’re a Reba fan you won’t be disappointed. If you’re new to the country scene, you couldn’t have a better introduction by one of the legends of Country Music.