V.I.P.

V.I.P..jpg

Throughout this six-song disc, Gwen’s sweet, energetic voice recalls a soulful Lee Ann Womack or Miranda Lambert. “V.I.P. (Barefoot Girl)” is Gwen’s calling card, an infectious, fiddle-infused stamp of approval for women who are barefoot girls in a high-heel world. There’s real grit behind Gwen’s girly voice, and it comes through on “Nothing,” in which the protagonist overcomes a bitter situation instead of wallowing in misery. With choices come consequences on “Hard Rain,” which follows two characters who unwisely abandon responsibility. On the subdued midtempo cut “Dirt Cheap,” she affirms the value of a woman whose man’s waning love threatens to reduce her to a “yard-sale special”: I used to be a diamond in your eyes . . . now it’s like I’m at a pawnshop waiting for you to trade something for me. Gwen’s sunny outlook returns in the guitar-driven closer, “Jump In.” A solid debut from a promising singer/songwriter.

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