100 Proof

100 Proof

by Kellie Pickler


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It made some sense to gussy Kellie Pickler up as a genuine diva on her eponymous second album -- she's a reality star veteran after all -- but the makeover didn't quite stick. Too corny to truly seem glamorous and lacking the self-effacing panache of her idol Dolly Parton, Pickler came across as a girl dressing up in her big sister's clothes: charming enough at a glance, but the loose fit, not to mention the glue on the sequins, is all too apparent upon closer inspection. Kellie wisely puts the spangly threads away in the closet for her third album, 100 Proof. The title alone gives a good idea of what she's getting at here: she's serving the hard stuff, potent and straight, and it has a kick, one that hits harder than anything she's done before. A lot of this is due to the smart selection of producers -- Frank Liddell and Luke Wooten, the former instrumental in shepherding Miranda Lambert's transition from TV to respected recording star and now performing a similar feat here, stripping Kellie's music to its basics, emphasizing hard country over cornpone comedy. Pickler will never be mistaken for a gutsy brawler but she never adopts a crazy ex-girlfriend stance, either. She merely plays it clean and simple, sometimes adopting a heavy-handed twang but usually sounding comfortable in these down-home surroundings of Telecasters, steel guitars, and acoustic guitars. The back half of this tight 35-minute album drifts slightly into sleepy, pretty territory (the title track veering just a bit too close to pageantry) but curiously, this is where Pickler reigns in her vocal mannerisms, so they come across as heartfelt, while the purer honky tonk -- "Where's Tammy Wynette," "Unlock the Honky Tonk," "Stop Cheatin' on Me" -- resonates in a way her earlier records never suggested. In short, 100 Proof is the album where Kellie Pickler stops being a TV star and turns into a genuine recording artist: it's an album that's not just good when graded on a curve, but good by any measure.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/24/2012
Label: Bna Entertainment
UPC: 0886979158726
catalogNumber: 791587
Rank: 89570

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Kellie Pickler   Primary Artist
Glen Duncan   Fiddle,Guitar,Mandolin
Eric Darken   Percussion
Richard Bennett   Guitar
Chad Cromwell   Percussion,Drums
Paul Franklin   Steel Guitar
Jay Joyce   Keyboards
Gordon Mote   Piano
Randy Scruggs   Guitar
Glenn Worf   Bass
Wes Hightower   Background Vocals
Luke Wooten   Guitar
Ilya Toshinsky   Banjo,Guitar,Mandolin,Guitar (Resonator)
Rob McNelley   Guitar
Morgane Hayes   Background Vocals
Chris Stapleton   Background Vocals
Jimmy Stewart   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Barry Dean   Composer
Dean Dillon   Composer
Natalie Hemby   Composer
Leslie Satcher   Composer
Dale Dodson   Composer
Frank Liddell   Producer
Luke Wooten   Producer,Engineer
Jimmy Ritchey   Composer
Morgane Hayes   Composer
James T. Slater   Composer
Kellie Pickler   Composer
Rodney Clawson   Composer
Brent Cobb   Composer
Liz Rose   Composer
Chris Stapleton   Composer
Don Poythress   Composer
Kyle Jacobs   Composer

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100 Proof 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
JustClay More than 1 year ago
"This is just going to be Kellie, like it or leave it," she says. "I don't expect people to like me or like my music. I want them to, but I can't make them. If I can't be me, then I don't want to do it." - Kellie Pickler on the new album. 6 years ago, I saw something special in a young, humble blonde girl from a small town in North Carolina called Albemarle on the famous or infamous television show, "American Idol". Something about her stuck. Maybe it was her naive personality, not vacuous, just innocent. She is unbelievably genuine. I fell in love with her debut album, "Small Town Girl", which seemed more real than anything I'd heard. Kellie is really one of a kind. Aside from her obvious pulchritude lies a bolstering personality screaming to get out. If you ever see Kellie in concert, you will notice right away that she is nothing but herself; She is a real, down-at-home, country girl, raised on the classics and living a country lifestyle. With this album, you can take a trip down the country road that is and was Kellie's story. Quite frankly, she blows other comparable female artists out of the water, making their efforts look like child's play while she is effortless in singing straight from her heart in a fashion that could only be innate. This album takes you from her estranged relationship to her mother (the heartbreaking ballad "Mother's Day" to a fun, relaxing story of commitment to her husband, Kyle Jacobs("Rockaway"). One thing that separates her from the rest is your devotion to telling a real story. The words she's singing were hand picked for her. Kellie is a lover of the classics. In countless interviews, she's mentioned her avid listening to traditional country artists such as Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, and Loretta Lynn. "Stop Cheating On Me" is hauntingly beautiful, and could almost be confused for any of the three of them. But Kellie graciously pays tribute to traditional country in a world where country radio is ruled by payola, catchy beats, and overproduced vocals. "Where's Tammy Wynette" and "Unlock That Honky Tonk" are homegrown, catchy and unmistakably country. "Long As I Never See You Again" and "Turn On The Radio and Dance" have a backroads, nostalgic feel, and are dripping with emotion that you could just dive into as she sings. One only needs to listen to a few clips to understand that Kellie is up to this point, one of the most underrated artists out there. "100 Proof" is a masterpiece. One would hope that this album will allow Kellie to surge into a place of recognition and that country radio will not let this masterpiece slip through the cracks! This CD is an essential for any fan of country music out there.