Volume 96, Issue 64
Thursday, January 23, 2003

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CD REVIEWS: Deborah Cox, Sonny Landreth
Did Cox choose the wrong Road?

Deborah Cox
The Morning After
J Records



RUNDOWN: If you have a record-breaking single that stays atop the Billboard R&B chart for 14 weeks, you deserve a vacation. But with the lukewarm response to Cox's new songs, maybe that vacation was a bit too long.

KEY TRACKS: Chilled response aside, the material on The Morning After is quite strong, offering a steady mix of R&B, soul and dance. The strongest tracks are often the ballads – "Play Your Part," "Hurt So Much" and the title track all play up the diva's theatrics, putting Cox's thick and rich voice in the forefront.

SOUNDS LIKE: Whitney Houston with less crack and more back (Cox proudly shakes it for the cover art). Like most morning-afters, listening to The Morning After will either make you gleam with that after-sex glow or make you reach for some pills. The lyrics are of the typical R&B "you-done-me-wrong," "need-a-real-man," variety, but Cox's full voice is enough to command attention and prevent any unwanted puking.

–Brian Wong



Sonny Landreth
The Road We're On
Sugar Hill Records



RUNDOWN: Over the course of his career, slide guitarist Sonny Landreth has played with respected artists ranging from John Hiatt to Mark Knopfler. Yet despite the high demand for Landreth's mean slide, he has released seven solo records that have included genre-crossing material: acoustic folk and blues, zydeco, Cajun, country and blues-rock. The latest in the Landreth catalog, The Road We're On, showcases the gritty, raw edges of Landreth's blues-rock side.

KEY TRACKS: Landreth's slide lets loose on the third track "All About You" and soars down the neck of his Stratocaster in the opening measures of "The Promised Land." The songwriting is average at best, but the real magic lies within the musicianship and passion of Landreth and bandmates Dave Ranson (bass) and Brian Brignac (drums).

SOUNDS LIKE: Like the best white torchbearers of the blues, Landreth's guitar playing is fluent and firmly rooted in the blues tradition, while gently pushing the boundaries of rock, blues and country/folk.

–Zach Peterson

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