Tammy Cochran’s “Angels in Waiting”, from her 2001 self-titled debut, tickled our ears with a sliver of heaven. It was written for her brothers, Shawn and Alan, who passed away from cystic fibrosis, and the Ohio native infused her tribute with love, hope, and a warm sincerity that continues to inspire listeners and loyal fans. Since her second outing, 2002’s Life Happened, things have been relatively quiet in Cochran-ville, but she ends her hiatus with Where I Am, a smooth, often spine-tingling, carousel ride. The album features catchy hooks, trump tight musicians (like Anita Cochran—no relation to Tammy—who’s a musical force to be enjoyed in her own right), and Ms. Cochran’s big, big voice that could make the phone book sound like a hit record. Where I Am mainly tackles the aftermath of heartbreak, but it’s the good stuff, y’know? It’s the brand new day emerging from the stormy night; it’s the spring that follows a withering fall and a bone chilling winter. Ms. Cochran handles it with grace, from the Reba-styled resilience of “So Long” (“So long didn’t hurt me / Never made me cry”) to the gorgeously sullen title track and the bluesy barroom number “As Soon As I’m Over You”.
The main “weakness”, if it can be called that, is the album’s thorough sheen and polish. There are worse things, for sure, but the gleam on these gems can make you think you’re listening to the carpe diem theme of a coffee commercial, instead of compositions from songwriters as seasoned as Ms. Cochran and friends (including Patricia Gray and Verlon Thompson). While love and heartbreak are fine topics, and the ones on Where I Am are tasty indeed, some listeners might prefer a sound that’s messier, a bit more rowdy. Still, the album is good—real damn good—and oh, wouldn’t “My Side of the World” (written for the loved ones of those in the armed forces) be a perfect fit for an episode of Lifetime’s Army Wives? Plus, a portion of the CD sales will aid the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, so it’s almost impossible to go wrong with this release. For now, Where I Am updates us on where Tammy Cochran is, and keeps us interested in where she’ll be on the next go ‘round.
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// Notes from the Road
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