Where I Am

by: Tammy Cochran

Tammy Cochran released two albums in the first half of the 2000s that got her on the charts but didn't necessarily get her noticed, so her 2007 third album, Where I Am, was designed to make her a star. Unfortunately, this means that she's been given a nearly complete country-pop makeover, something that she's professional enough to pull off yet something that's not necessarily pitched to her strengths. Cochran has a nice, rich voice -- one that has a distinct country bent to its inflections, but smooth enough to do crossover material -- and she can often distinguish herself as a singer even on lightweight songs, which isn't quite the same as making them worth singing, as Where I Am illustrates. Too often, the ballads on Where I Am -- and this is a record swarming with them -- are slow and syrupy without being sweet, and while Cochran valiantly tries to make these tunes interesting, she can't quite infuse these bland ballads with enough energy to make them worth hearing. As always, she's better served when things aren't quite so pop. When the arrangements get comparatively down-home, things perk up quite a bit, whether it's on the lively "The Ride of Your Life" or the relaxed bluesy crawl of "As Soon as I'm Over You" or even the relatively spare "Gone" -- proving that Cochran's Achilles heel isn't ballads, it's the commercial production that she sadly is subjected to for the bulk of the well-intentioned but often lifeless Where I Am. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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