Six years ago, on the popular "American Idol", I saw something special in a young, humble blonde girl from Albemarle, a small town in North Carolina. Something about her stuck with me. Maybe it was her naive personality, not vacuous, just innocent and unbelievably genuine. I fell in love with her debut album, "Small Town Girl", which seemed more real than anything I'd heard in a while.
"This is just going to be Kellie, like it or leave it," she says. "I don't expect people to like me or like my music. I want them to, but I can't make them. If I can't be me, then I don't want to do it." -Kellie Pickler on the new album, USAToday
Aside from her obvious pulchritude, she has a contagious, boisterous personality. If you ever see her in concert, you will experience the authenticity of this down-at-home, country girl raised on the classics. With this album, you can take a trip down the country road that is and was her story.
"100 Proof" takes you from her estranged relationship with her mother (the heartbreaking ballad "Mother's Day") to a fun, relaxing story of commitment to her husband, Kyle Jacobs ("Rockaway"). One thing that separates her from the rest is her devotion to telling a real, honest and personal story. The words she's singing were hand picked and come from the heart.
Pickler is a lover of the classics. She is an avid listener to traditional country artists such as Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, and Loretta Lynn. "Stop Cheating On Me" is a hauntingly beautiful song, reminiscent of these three country music icons. Pickler graciously pays tribute to traditional country at a time when country music is dominated by a pop sound and overproduced vocals. "Where's Tammy Wynette?" and "Unlock That Honky Tonk" are homegrown, stripped and have unmistakably country instrumentation. "Long As I Never See You Again" and "Turn On The Radio and Dance" have a backroads, nostalgic feel, and are dripping with emotion that pulls you in.
Kellie has been one of the most underrated country artists out there, but one only needs to listen to a few clips of "100 Proof" to know that will certainly change. Kellie and her team have outdone themselves in bringing back the power of traditional country- a bold step in a commercial world. This CD is an essential addition to any country music fan's collection.