Strangers and Angels

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WWE wrestler Mickie James recently stepped out of the the ring, but only long enough to punch the clock in a recording studio for her independently released debut album, Strangers and Angels. “Are You With Me” finds her squarely in Gretchen Wilson  country-girl territory, while  the vengeful “Hollywood Movie Moment,” one of three tracks co-written by Mickie, should resonate with fans of Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats.” She delivers a solid, soulful vocal performance on the dramatic “Fallin’ Over Again,” and  returns to her diva-in-charge posture on the sensual “Make Me Feel Like a Woman,” which mimics the theme of Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like A Woman!” with moderate success. While her muscular voice doesn’t warm up as effectively to slow and understated songs like “I Call the Fight,”she fares decently on upbeat, attitude-heavy rockers,  and on the disc’s barnburners and more dramatic material, this wrestler-turned-singer often  pins ’em to the mat.

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