Kelly Willis Easy

Kelly Willis is a shining example -not only that is there no justice in the music business, but that even with your most obvious ducks in a row, success will not necessarily follow. She's a talented country singer in the traditionalist forum, at a time when fans have turned away from big hat/big hair country. She's now released five excellent albums that would fit right alongside efforts by Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, or Emmylou Harris in a discerning fan's collection. And she's stunningly beautiful (don't tell me it doesn't matter to a marketing department: Shelby Lynne anyone?). Yet despite critical acclaim stacked to the ceiling, Kelly Willis has not made the mark she deserves. Country music is one of the few genres when so-called "innovation" is usually this week's trend and next week's delete bin, but Kelly Willis makes timeless music. Easy is exactly how she makes it look, and so is the choice to get behind this underrated talent. (Rykodisc)