“Right About Love” is an album that narrowly fails to deliver what it sets out to achieve. From kicking off with a tough Texas sounding groove complete with Joplin style voice topped by a big sounding production and wailing slide guitar, “Mouth of the Delta” could easily have been the track that The Arc Angels or their ilk never recorded. Unsurprisingly it’s co-written by the Angels’ David Grissom and is everything you would want, from Renee’s raucous but soulful voice to the powerful production. But she has a hard time emulating this great opener and settles for a more MOR style title track which in truth anchors the album to eleven steady rather than inspirational tracks.
“Harder Than it Has to Be” is one of six co-writes with Kevin Bowe and benefits from some lovely slide accompaniment and a sweeping chorus complete with wailing bv’s. It’s all good solid stuff, but rather than being the springboard to a batch of rocking Texas influenced rock blues, she stays to close to the formulaic style of radio focused songs
The humorous but common sense lyrics of the country rocker “U-Haul” is given a boost by Joe T Cook’s lyrical harp and Renee gives a good account of her abilities. Cook similarly ads his deep tone on a swampy cover of Bobby Gentry’s “Bugs” But as the trite lyrics of the Bruce McCabe co penned “Thank You Card” suggest - gospel influences aside - there’s simply too much attention being paid to what is commercially acceptable at the expense of spontaneity.
The up tempo, Johnny Winter sounding “Meant to Be” is a little closer to the mark and finds room for a tough rhythm section and a guitar solo, while the Kevin Bowe/Rene co-write “Chicken Coop” at least lets Renee give vent to her considerable range.
But for every step forwards there’s an equal lurch to the predictable as the funky feel of “Strangers on a Train” feels like there’s a spreading of the net by singer and producer Bowe in an attempt to find something to suit her voice. And it is simply the fact that there are very few of the songs here match the potential of a fine singer that makes “Right About Love” a solid rather than exciting album