08 December 2007

This Country Girl Is a Gem

So far as I can tell, Rissi Palmer is an African American. A young child could look at her and tell you that she's not "black," nor even dark brown, but a caramel-hued light brown in appearance. None of this has any bearing on her musical ability, her artistic creativity or vocal performance. But I do find it interesting that an African American country singer should seem so unusual. There is that tall black rapper, Cowboy Troy, who came into the spotlight a bit with Big & Rich, but he's somewhat unique in his own right. Black singers have always had a big foot in the door of rock 'n' roll, but they are most commonly to be found in the Rhythm & Blues, Soul, and Gospel genres, and they've had close to a monopoly on the rap music industry. Why not country music? Am I just missing something? In any case, Rissi Palmer is a gem of a country girl singer.

Rissi's self-titled debut is really a great record. I'd compare her musically to Faith Hill, but she has a stronger and more versatile voice than Faith. The production strikes me as a bit thin or tinny at times, but not her voice. She's written many of her own songs on the record, and she's obviously got some real talent in that regard, too. All of the songs (both her own and those she has selected) are thoughtful, well-crafted, and interesting; they convey a depth of emotion and, in a number of cases, genuine cleverness. I found the entire record to be instantly enjoyable, yet it has continued to grow on me with repeated listening. I certainly have not grown tired of it, but really delight in it.

I'd put Rissi Palmer in a league with Carrie Underwood, Kelly Pickler and Taylor Swift, though I suspect that Rissi may actually exceed them all. She seems to have a little more natural breadth than those other girls, both in her writing and in her singing. Her voice is pleasant and mature, at times with subtle hints of Soul and R&B. For those who like country music, I recommend giving her a listen. I suspect that my Beanie and a number of my young friends, including a few southern belles I know, would find Rissi's music quite a treat. There's not a song on her record I don't like, but my favorites are "Country Girl," "Heart Don't Know When to Quit," "All This Woman Needs," and "Flowers on My Window Ledge."

1 comment:

DoRenaBeana said...

This is just a guess . . . but maybe there is a connection between the small number of African American country singers and the fact that country music has its roots in the south . . .