Allison Moorer Miss Fortune

A few years ago it was easy to immediately lump Allison Moorer among the other pretty faces Nashville consistently inflicts upon us in its gross attempts at pop crossover windfalls. But from the first listen to the title track of her first album, Alabama Song, there was something deeper and more confident about her presentation. Of course, she's still gorgeous, but Miss Fortune continues to see her develop into that rare commodity: a truly soulful country singer. The initial appeal still lies in Moorer's voice, a rich and sultry instrument that never has to rely on histrionics to get its point across. It sits perfectly with the instrumentation, a subtle combination of classic Memphis soul and Nashville sophistication, with just enough Beatles-influenced hooks to tie it all together. It may be too late to bring mainstream country back to this approach, but Moorer clearly has all the talent to make it happen. At the very least she's proof that you can't judge a book by its cover. (Universal)