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K.T. Oslin

My Roots Are Showing

  • BNA/BMG

The torch album is nothing if not a relic of the '80s, and Linda Ronstadt's vainglorious partnership with the indubitable Nelson Riddle. But there are all sorts of underrated songs out there for the singing and Oslin is seduced by the best of them, whether it's reimagining Charlie and Ira Louvin's “My Baby Came Back” with Sun studio echo or restyling Webb Pierce's “Pathway of Teardrops” with just the right hint of feminism. Sleeper of the year: Richard Thompson's “A Heart Needs a Home” (where was K.T. when they put together the Thompson tribute last year?). Oslin's charm comes from the way she has way too much class to take any of Nashville's machinery seriously — especially after knocking on doors for more than half her life. That self-knowledge gives this set something like the glint that peaks out from above her befeathered birthday suit. Drummer Dan “Rock Stead” Needham tugs back on the beat, reigning it in where lesser players might push it forward and keyboardist Marc Harris plays right down into the grrr of Oslin's alto. Oslin's is the kind of hard-won success that is its own seduction, and this is the featherbed music of your adult dreams.

— Tim Riley

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