Fearless (Mercury)

Terri Clark Album Cover, Fearless

Terri Clark believes Fearless is the most honest and personal album she's ever made. Anyone making the musical journey through these slices of her life will agree. The album reveals a quantum leap in philosophy and maturity from her earlier efforts.

The opening number "No Fear" - co-written by Terri and Mary Chapin Carpenter - sets the tone of newfound self-assurance. All I ever wanted was right here, sings Terri, But I had to reach way down inside/I had to have faith/I'd find no fear.

Terri teams writing talents with Beth Nielsen Chapman and Annie Roboff on "Sometimes Goodbye," a mournful ode to a dead-end relationship. Sometimes goodbye is the only open door, goes the song, opening that door and closing a chapter in life's lessons. In "Easy From Now On," dealing with another one-way street, Terri nails the tune with her angst-driven vocals, reminiscent of vintage Patty Loveless.

Another attitude adjustment comes with Terri's fast-climbing single, "A Little Gasoline," a variation on the theme of putting a boyfriend squarely in the rear-view mirror. Balance comes with "To Tell You Everything," another collaboration with Mary Chapin, chronicling a trusting love that arrives in the nick of time.

The spiritual journey's finale is "Good Mother," which offers an intimate glimpse of Terri Clark, circa 2000, that resonates throughout this impressive release: Heart in hand, feet on ground/Facing forward, be yourself.

-- Gerry Wood

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