Album review: LeAnn Rimes’ ‘Lady & Gentlemen’

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Country diva LeAnn Rimes has been contending lately with flak from image-conscious types over paparazzi photos of her slimmed-down physique, but her leaner, meaner approach to a batch of classic country songs for her latest collection is mostly good news.

She’s collaborated with country standard bearer Vince Gill in this outing, recasting hits from nearly a dozen male singers to a female perspective. Ultimately, however, it matters little whether it’s a man or woman singing Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through the Night.” The bittersweet character of a civilized romantic parting that Kristofferson sketched is gender-free.

There is a bit of an emotional shift in her take on Waylon Jennings’ “Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line,” when she changes “daddy” to “mama,” but the more significant differences come from the arrangements she, Gill and her other associates have cooked up. John Anderson’s “Swingin’” becomes a peppy double shuffle, while Merle Haggard’s “The Bottle Let Me Down” is given a haunted “Long Black Veil”-like arrangement.

She revisits her own first hit, “Blue,” picking up the tempo a tad, treating it as a barroom one-step. She rounds out her excursion to old-school country with two new songs, the single “Give” and “Crazy Women,” that bring her back to the contemporary pop-country mainstream.


LeAnn Rimes
“Lady & Gentlemen”
(Curb Records)
Three stars (Out of four)


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— Randy Lewis