Jamie O’Neal’s sterling vocal pipes are among the best in contemporary country music. O’Neal excels at big, heart-tugging ballads but can also connect with subtler material outside of the country mainstream. She soars high on the yearning strains of Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through the Night” and Otha Young’s “The Sweetest Thing” without falling into excess. Upbeat tracks like Paul Kennerley’s “Born to Run” and Deborah Allen’s “Rock Me” are infused with full-throated passion, while Bruce Cockburn’s “One Day I Walk” gets an Appalachian-style folk treatment and Larry Gatlin’s “I’ve Done Enough Dyin’ Today” is rendered with a touch of R&B elegance. She does particularly well with classic Nashville fare like Loretta Lynn’s defiant “Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind)” and Bobby Braddock’s poignant “Golden Ring” (featuring Andy Griggs on duet vocals). O’Neal closes this outstanding album with “Wide Awake,” a droll number about a snoring spouse cowritten by Jamie with her dad, Jimmy Murphy.

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