With her sophomore album That’s Just Me, traditional country crooner Teea Goans continues to build upon the remarkable promise she displayed on her 2010 debut The Way I Remember It. Like its predecessor, That’s Just Me offers an eclectic mix of new material with a selection of well-chosen covers.
With a distinct, plaintive voice that sounds like it was tailor-made for classic country – vaguely reminiscent of Pam Tillis with a few shades of Carlene Carter - Goans inhabits the throwback arrangements with grace and ease. Terry Choate produces the project, framing Goans voice with the sweet sounds of fiddle and steel, with cool touches like some bluesy guitar chords (such as on “The Big Hurt”) added in for good measure.
That’s Just Me features fine covers of good’ns such as Larry Gatlin’s “I’ve Done Enough Dying Today,” as well as “Nobody Wins,” a top-notch Kris Kristofferson composition that was a hit for Brenda Lee in 1973. Also cited is the Bob Montgomery-penned “Misty Blue,” which Wilma Burgess, Eddy Arnold, and Billie Jo Spears all had Top 5 hits with in 1966, 1967, and 1976, respectively, and which Goans likewise covers with aplomb. The melody finely showcases Goans pristine vocal control and nuance. The album closes with a beautifully raw, sparsely produced rendition of “Over the Rainbow” from the classic 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. It would be an understatement to say that the song has been covered endlessly, but Goans impresses by delivering beautifully heartfelt vocal reading that comes across as uniquely her own.
As satisfying as the cover songs may be, That’s Just Me reaches similarly great heights with its inspired original material. When Goans joins forces with Jamie Dailey of acclaimed bluegrass duo Dailey & Vincent on “That’s Just Me Loving You,” it’s hard to a imagine a sweeter-sounding vocal pairing. The two voices meld seamlessly on a duet that makes you want to savor every note, and then attack the replay button. Goans cuts loose with infectious abandon on jovial uptempo cuts such as the Western Swing-influenced number “Pour a Little Love On It” – a definite album highlight. Similarly catchy uptempo cuts “Loving Proof” and Overboard” are given more percussive, modern-sounding arrangements than most of the album’s other cuts, while nodding heavily to traditional genre conventions, and thus still melding comfortably with the rest of the album. Featuring consistently solid songs that are tastefully produced and beautifully sung, there simply isn’t a weak track to be found on That’s Just Me, making for an effortlessly lovable collection of tunes.
Every bit as straightforward, sincere, and unpretentious as its title would imply, That’s Just Me is a simple refreshing country delight, the likes of which are few and far between these days. It’s not so much a genre exercise as a reminder of why we fell in love with country music in the first place.
TEEA’S SCORE: 9
(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)
Top Tracks: “Pour a Little Love On It,” “Misty Blue,” “That’s Just Me Loving You”
Buy: That’s Just Me