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Wild Angels

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Album Review

Coming two years after her smash The Way That I Am and her mind-bogglingly successful single, "Independence Day," Martina McBride had nothing to prove — except to the folks in accounting at her record company. Wild Angels continues her exploration of melding classic country influences and modern pop — long before Shania Twain dreamed it — in the same way (albeit in a radically different time and context) that Patsy Cline did 30 years earlier. Using the same production team of Ed Seay, Paul Worley, and herself — with a literal boatload of engineers — McBride and company assembled a fine collection of songs and performers, including the Band's Levon Helm and Ashley Cleveland on backing vocals, to deliver a powerful set that is her most consistent yet despite not having a single as memorable as "Independence Day" (but you only get those once or twice in a lifetime anyway, right?). Here there are many standout tracks, not the least among them being a rocking & rolling country version of Delbert McClinton's classic "Two More Bottles of Wine" that blows away Emmylou Harris' version and rivals McClinton's. In addition, there are a couple of Matraca Berg cuts, including the modern country title track and the soulful weeper "Cry on the Shoulder of the Road." The Bunch/Stinson-penned "You've Been Driving All the Time" has that irresistible lead-in of acoustic guitars that gives way to compressed ringing electrics that underscore her voice so well and make the track a winner. But there aren't any weak moments here, and McBride proves for the third time that she not only is for real, but that she has the ability a lot of her peers don't to make consistently engaging, moving, and memorable music from album to album. That's an achievement.


Born: 29 July 1966 in Medicine Lodge, KS

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Contemporary country singer Martina McBride rose to stardom in the late '90s, starting out with a more traditionalist approach and later moving into more pop-friendly territory. She was born Martina Mariea Schiff in 1966 in Medicine Lodge, Kansas, and discovered country music through her father, who led a local band called the Schifters. By her teen years, she was singing and playing keyboards with the Schifters, and after high school she gigged around Kansas with several different bands. She married...
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