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Laura Bryna

Trying to Be Me

(Equity Music Group; US: 22 Jan 2008; UK: Available as import)

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.

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Dave Heaton has been writing about music on a regular basis since 1993, first for unofficial college-town newspapers and DIY fanzines and now mostly on the Internet. In 2000, the same year he started writing for PopMatters, he founded the online arts magazine ErasingClouds.com, still around but often in flux. He writes music reviews for the print magazine The Big Takeover. He is a music obsessive through and through. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri.


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