Review: Jackie Bristow "Freedom"

New Zealand native Jackie Bristow has a uniquely wonderful country music voice, and her album "Freedom" proves that while she was not born in her new home of Austin, Texas - she definitely belongs in the Lone Star state.
The title track "Freedom" leads off the album with a superb vocal performance by Bristow. However, the backing vocals get a bit tiresome with the background singers' too loud and seemingly endless chant of "freedom."

The passionate "Running" showcases the best elements of Jackie Bristow with the song's sultry chorus and instrumentation. "Pray For Love" slightly more effectively uses background vocals in a track that has all the elements for a radio chart hit.

However, it is the quiet "River" which provides Bristow's best musical moment and is the album's best song. Everything about it is perfect - except for the slightly too prominent backing vocals that distract from Bristow's clear country sound.

The melodic "Rebel In My Soul" provides a memorable chorus and compelling lyrics, and Jackie Bristow seems most authentic with the intense cut "Broken Girl" that deserves to be released as a single to Texas country and Red Dirt radio.

The biggest surprise of the album is the gospel-tinged "Aotearoa." Bristow's nuanced vocal performance will win over any doubters. The cover art of "Freedom" also deserves special mention for its perfect artistic styling and photography.

"Freedom" is a wonderful album that deserves to be enjoyed and savored by country music fans worldwide until the next Jackie Bristow album is released. By then, hopefully, Bristow will  have won her own 'freedom' from the overpowering background vocalists that almost threatened the success of this project. A voice as good as hers can stand on its own.