LeAnn Rimes

At the Chumash Casino, Thursday, April 13.

Reviewed by Brett Leigh Dicks

As LeAnn Rimes cavorted and twisted her way around the stage,
raising her arms and clutching her heart, the cascade of hits that
flowed freely and readily through the Chumash Casino were not
restricted to her own considerable catalogue. Sure, she bellowed
out her resounding breakthrough single “Blue” and delivered a
vibrant rendition of “Can’t Fight the Moonlight,” but the singer
also threw forth an intriguing selection of measured covers. Drawn
from the songbooks of the likes of Janis Joplin, Stevie Nicks, and
Grace Slick, old blended with new to present a cavalcade of musical
conquests that spanned five decades.

It is probably no coincidence that the 23-year-old is drawn to
songs from such audacious female vocal artists. In wandering
something of a musical twilight zone — one not quite country, yet
not strictly pop or rock either — Rimes relies upon her vocals to
provide the bearing. With the instrumental execution of her songs
tending toward the formulaic, it is Rimes’s vocal ability that
provides the revelation. They ebb and flow according to the musical
temperament — either resonating with force and gusto or sprinkling
an essence of sweet saccharin across the room.

Opening with “Something’s Gotta Give,” from her latest album
This Woman, the blending of weeping pedal steel, airy acoustics,
and growling electric guitars set the night’s dominant tone. Rimes
wore the casual country leaning of the composition comfortably and
it is a musical elucidation that seemed a far better fit than the
cumbersome dynamics of earlier songs like “Big Deal.” As the set
progressed, the dynamics diversified. “Some People” and “Probably
Wouldn’t Be This Way” gave cause for quiet reflection before
Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” enthusiastically ended the

With the stage lights directed upon a lone pianist, showering
him in blue radiance, a simple piano solo accompanied the
reemergence of Rimes’s band. And when the respective players again
converged, the familiar tones of “How Do I Live” were soon
detectable. Rimes joined her colleagues on stage to seduce the
gathered masses with her greatest musical success. But LeAnn Rimes
decided that a more forthright closure to the evening’s proceedings
was required and “Somebody to Love” supplied exactly that. With the
audience rising to their feet, Rimes’s furious rendition of the
Jefferson Airplane classic ensured they had every reason to remain


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