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STARific Review: Jessica Andrews - Now

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Since the release of her Who I Am project, on which the title track soared to #1 and stayed there for three weeks on the country charts, the past couple of years have been a whirlwind of change for Jessica Andrews. She recently revealed a shorter haircut, moved into her own house, and hooked up professionally and romantically with Mercury's newest rising country artist/songwriter, Marcel (Chagnon). She has a brand new album on her hands, too! Simply titled NOW, Jessica again teamed with famed producer Byron Gallimore on this album (he's worked with Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Jo Dee Messina, and more!), whom she collaborated with on her previous two albums. Jessica also wrote two in this collection of 16 tracks.

The album opener is THERE'S MORE TO ME THAN YOU. It plows forward toward unrealized dreams with regained strength and newfound confidence. The upbeat first single off this album, which Jessica wrote (along with Marcel and James T. Slater), kicked up dust on its way up the charts. Letting the music speak for itself, WHEN GENTRY PLAYS GUITAR is a light-hearted track. I love the piano and guitar work on this one! In I WISH FOR YOU, eye-opening guidance backed by affectionate support are offered to loved ones who are about to face the unknown future. A sure case of bliss is apparent in the mid-tempo TO LOVE YOU ONCE, the ballad YOU'RE THE MAN (THAT BRINGS THE WOMAN OUT OF ME), and the title track NOW; being in love is indeed a beautiful thing! Before I BRING IT TO YOU can continue the sweet love story, there is a somber side to this song; previous heartbroken moments are laid out in the open. Speaking of breaking hearts, severed romantic relationships may be over, but they will NEVER BE FORGOTTEN. Rather, they remain deeply engrained imprints in the mind and heart. Another outstanding ballad! THEY ARE THE ROSES shines with pure innocence and incessant hope that can only come from children. This track is absolutely enchanting and one of my favorites! SUNSHINE AND LOVE is proof that the only thing money can never buy is love and that it shouldn’t be taken for granted: "Cause the best things in life might not be free but they sure are cheap like sunshine and love." The tune is written by Aimee Mayo and Troy Verges; the latter is one of the co-writers of Jessica's number one smash, "Who I Am." The practical dreamer knows that with love come sacrifices. COWBOY GUARANTEE, a tune penned by MCA recording artist Rebecca Lynn Howard (she also penned her own smash single with "Forgive"), says just that. How many times do we go through weekends wishing for a SECOND SUNDAY? If we could only have an extra 24 hours, we could get so much more done before another workweek begins! Wishful thinking, but hey – this one is a chock full of fun! The haunting comparison of a love slipping away and two people growing apart to WINDOWS ON A TRAIN makes this track another tear-jerker. Keep the tissues coming, because GOD DON'T GIVE UP ON US pleads for mercy on the people living in a corrupting world. Compelling lyrics from the chorus: "Nothing loved is ever lost" as well as a bone-chilling tag convey a powerful, heart-felt message. And, though this ballad discusses weighty issues, the melody is absolutely resplendent – no doubt a favorite track! Then, just as the song suggests, sounds like Jessica had fun recording GOOD TIME!! In the tune she co-wrote with Bekka Bramlett and Annie Roboff, it's all about kissing the blues goodbye and letting that hair fly free in the wind! "Good Time" is the last listed track. But don't take the CD out just yet! Jessica includes a much slower and slightly extended rendition of THERE'S MORE TO ME THAN YOU as a hidden track. I can't say enough about this stripped down version (accompanied by only a piano and string orchestra), which is a stark contrast from the upbeat album opener. Produced as a ballad, Jessica delivers this song with such conviction and soul that it tugs at the heart! And, the background vocals, which are brought out, only accentuate this magnificent arrangement. Saving the best for last, this is definitely my favorite of this bunch!

If you're expecting songs with sugarcoated naivete, you won’t find those here. Here's a woman who has lived, loved, and lost, and the music on this album is a clear reflection of that. Jessica says she intentionally took extra time to compile the best songs for her latest musical project. Well, hard work pays off, and this is nothing but an enjoyable album – one that is not likely to leave your CD player after the first listen.

After you check out the music, make sure to pop this CD into your computer, because this one comes with an enhanced portion. Get almost an hour's worth of interview, video, and other exclusive footage!

CD INFO:

Jessica Andrews
NOW
DreamWorks Nashville
Released on April 15, 2003

Jessica Andrews

TRACK LISTING:

1. There's More To Me Than You
2. When Gentry Plays Guitar
3. I Wish For You
4. To Love You Once
5. I Bring It To You
6. Never Be Forgotten
7. They Are The Roses
8. Sunshine and Love
9. You're The Man (That Brings The Woman Out Of Me)
10. Cowboy Guarantee
11. Now
12. Second Sunday
13. Windows On A Train
14. God Don't Give Up On Us
15. Good Time
Hidden Track: There's More To Me Than You (ballad version)

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