My Kind of Country

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Album Review: Lorrie Morgan – ‘I Walk Alone’

walkaloneLorrie Morgan’s most recent solo album I Walk Alone was released without much fanfare in December 2010, a mere fourteen months after the disappointing covers album A Moment In Time. She played a bigger role in the creation of this album than she had with any of the collections that preceded it; not only was she the album’s co-producer, she co-wrote each of album’s thirteen tracks. Rather than catering to the youth market with a mutton-dressed-as-lamb product, she confronts the age issue head on, with a collection of songs sung from the point of view of a middle-aged woman. She addresses topics that are of interest to female listeners in the same age bracket – the independence and loneliness that occur after failed relationships come to an end , and the need to pick up the pieces and try again with somebody new. In theory there is no one better suited than Lorrie Morgan to tackle these subjects; unfortunately, the execution of the idea doesn’t always quite work.

I Walk Alone is one of the least country efforts in the Morgan discography and seems to be aimed squarely at middle-of-the-road listeners, which is odd considering that near the end of her stint with BNA, Lorrie publicly complained that she wanted to get back to recording more country-sounding material, but she was being pressured to go with a more radio-friendly sound instead. Her voice has deteriorated noticeably since her major label days, although the vocal problems are not as apparent as they were on A Moment In Time.

As someone who is outside the demographic that the album is intended to target, I am perhaps not in the best position to judge its effectiveness, but I was mostly bored with this collection of mostly AC-leaning ballads and midtempo numbers, although there are a few chestnuts among them. The album’s best moments are the more uptempo numbers where Morgan asserts her independence, such as the title track (the album’s best song), “Woman Thing”, and to a lesser extent, the opening track “Cleanin’ Out My Closet”, which finds Morgan getting rid of both physical and emotional baggage after a break-up. Although it’s one of the more interesting songs, “Cleanin’ Out My Closet” is also, unfortunately, one of her poorer vocal efforts.

The campy and very pop-sounding “Very Marilyn” sounds like something Madonna might have recorded in the 80s and evokes images of the “Material Girl” video. It’s not to my taste, but it is at least more interesting than the remaining songs on the album, which I found quite tedious to listen to, with the spacy-sounding “Dangerously Blue” being the worst example. I didn’t enjoy the Kenny G-like saxophone on “”How Does It Feel”. The ballad “Mirror, Mirror” is not a bad song per se, but it sounds like it would be better suited to Barbra Streisand than Lorrie Morgan. “Take You Down”, on which Lorrie plays a Mrs. Robinson-type older woman seducing a much younger and less experienced man is downright embarrassing.

I Walk Alone didn’t receive much publicity when it was released, so it may have slipped below the radar of some fans, but it is hardly essential listening. CD copies are available through Lorrie’s website, but frankly are not worth the $20 asking price. The album is available for more reasonable prices through Amazon MP3 and iTunes.

Grade: C