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Since her run on "American Idol"s seventh installment, Kristy Lee Cook has been attempting to break through that ever-present female barrier. After releasing "15 Minutes of Shame," the lead off single from 2008's "Why Wait" record, she was soon dropped by Arista Nashville in December of that same year. Kristy resurfaced in 2010 when she signed to Broken Bow Records — label home to Jason Aldean and Dustin Lynch. Last year, Kristy released the beautiful "Airborne Ranger Infantry," a song inspired by poems written by her father, Larry Cook, during his time in the Vietnam War. Despite not gaining traction at radio, she continued to refine her songwriting and is now back with a brand new single.
Partnering up with labelmate Randy Houser (he's signed to Broken Bows' Stoney Creek division), the two tackle a syrupy sweet ballad "Wherever Love Goes," off Randy's latest "How Country Feels" album.
Before I set about reviewing this song, I have to say Randy's and Kristy's marketing teams are hitting it out of the park with this release. As Randy is taking over the top of the charts with "Runnin' Outta Moonlight" (a rather surprising hit, I have to say), this is a great way to attempt to make that deserved breakthrough for Kristy.
By introducing her on lead vocals, the song allows her interpretive skills to shine through. There is nothing over-the-top or try-hard to her delivery. There is the right amount of stirring honesty and sharp punctuation of the lyrics. The track begins with Kristy tenderly almost looking back on a relationship that may (or may not) have ended. It isn't quite clear, at first. Once Randy joins her on the next line, it becomes obvious they are playing a role as a couple grappling with regaining that spark that first attracted each other. They offer reassurance that everything will work out in the end. I imagine the video being shot much like a Faith Hill and Tim McGraw duet…with lots of candles and sweeping camera shots.
There is no directly stated storyline, though, but the chemistry between Kristy and Randy more than makes up for it. Their voices blend so smoothly together, and the passion with which they punch the lyrics makes the listener feel what they are feeling. Peppered with plenty of steel guitar, each chorus is the crescendo peak and each verse is the low-lying valley, building with each take. The rhythmic beats behind the hook are electric and, dare I say, magical. I don't get chills often when listening to music, but when I do, I know there's something there worth taking a second glance. I have since had the song on repeat. In fact, when I first listened to Randy's album, this track stood out to me as a definite highlight. Great single choice.
Buy it here.
Overall Grade: A-
Photo Credit: Broken Bow Records