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Carrie Pitzer

Six years in between solo projects can feel like an eternity for fans. Each year increases expectations that can often lead to disappointment. While full of emotion, there's no room for disappointment on Reba McEntire's "Keep On Loving You." In stores next week, Reba didn't pull any punches and lands a knockout of a debut with The Valory Music Co.

The provocative lead-off single, "Strange," brings an immediate sense of control and comfort heard throughout the album. With a renewed energy not felt since "Rumor Has It," her first project with longtime producer Tony Brown, there's never a doubt that this is the real Reba. There's no costume changes, no acting. Just good music.

She's a vulnerable daughter, wife and mother in "Eight Crazy Hours (in the story of love") and a woman forced to start anew in "She's Turning 50 Today," a song she co-wrote with Liz Hengber and Tommy Lee James, who have both penned numerous hits for the Oklahoma redhead. But Reba is also dedicated in "I Keep On Lovin' You," shows a youthful sassiness in "Pink Guitar" and displays honesty, realism and strength in "Consider Me Gone."

Reba wrote the book on finding relatable music. And if there's a theme for the album, it's being comfortable in your own skin ¬- no matter age, status or other unknown variables called life.

She still has her trademark ability to stretch single-syllable words into sentences, but Reba allows the lyrics to speak for themselves, enhancing songs with her vocal prowess instead of work too hard to create power.

With 55 million albums sold, Reba has nothing left to prove, except that she's recording the best music of her career. This album proves the best music is created when you're true to yourself, and "Keep On Loving You" is clearly the best country album released so far in 2009.

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Label:  Valory
ArtistReba McEntire
Release Date:  August 18, 2009
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review by . August 18, 2009
posted in Music Matters
'Keep on Loving You' marks Reba McEntire's first solo effort in six years and the 25th album in her long career in country music. While many popular country acts of today are making music that sounds less like country and more like a fusion of country and pop, what is striking about 'Keep on Loving You' is how it stands a strong reminder of not the 2000s Reba McEntire but of the '80s country star and diva. There are a lot of tracks on here that are pure country with elements of swing, with rarely …
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