On her debut album Tryin’ to Be Me Laura Bryna plays a variety of obvious cards in her pursuit of country or pop audiences. There’s the blandly sentimental feel-good song in support of that most uncontroversial of social causes, the Make a Wish Foundation; Sheryl Crow-ish anthems about the journey of life; ponderous ballads about alcoholism and spousal abuse. Most of it runs an innocuous road, threatening to pass right by invisibly. One song that stands right out from the workaday crowd is the playful, slightly naughty romp “No Man’s Land”, where all the single men have disappeared and women are left alone, bored. Another is the Keith Urban/Monty Powell-written “According to the Radio”, a saved-by-the-radio tale that benefits from having a hook that actually would sound great on the radio. Yet both songs are struck by oddly inconsistent, up-and-down singing, as if we should take the album title as a sign that Bryna is struggling to find her own voice, literally.
// Notes from the Road
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