from the May issue of "Maverick Country" magazine.

Tammy Cochran -- Where I Am -- Straybranch Records 45693

****1/2
Triumphant return by one of Nashville’s finest and criminally over-looked female country vocalists
The executives at Sony Nashville, who made the decision a couple of years ago to drop Tammy Cochran from their Epic imprint should be ashamed of themselves. The best hard-country female singer in Nashville today, Tammy carries the torch of legendary vocalists such as Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Jean Shepard and Connie Smith. She is the real deal, possessing a no-hold-barred emotional voice that cuts right through to your very heart and soul. Now taking the indie-label route, the aptly titled WHERE I AM is the country album that Faith Hill never made. Quite different to Tammy’s self-titled Epic debut and the follow-up, 2002’s LIFE HAPPENED, all dozen songs are Tammy’s own songs, mainly co-writes with Patricia Gray. Tastefully emotional and impressively grounded in reality, the album chronicles the ups-and-downs of romantic relationships. This is not the sugar-coated variety of country served up by the likes of Shania, LeAnn or SheDaisy. Tammy Cochran makes you feel the pain and hurt of rejection, a broken heart and frustration. It’s not all as heavy as it might at first seem, as Tammy takes a positive look at those first few days of falling in love with the upbeat Ride of Your Life, a theme that is also to the fore with album closer, Chemistry.  

But mainly Tammy follows a sad trail of betrayal and sorrow. As Soon As I’m Over You, uses a sultry, jazzy setting to convey emotional connection with a slightly optimistic edge. In Our House typifies the album’s quality. Brimming with visual imagery, it chronicles the hidden heartbreak of domestic abuse. She performs it flawlessly, using dynamics to emphasise the song’s inherent drama. In the process, she instinctively manages to call attention to the song without making herself the focal point. Long Way Down ably plums the heartbreak of deception, Highwire has a dark, mysterious quality before moving into an upbeat vibe that suggests the feistiness of Loretta Lynn, while the tear-drenched Gone is remindful of her namesake, Tammy Wynette. Not for the fainthearted or those who insist that country music must at all times be foot-tapping and infectious, this is deeply-wrought, emotional music full of heartache and an inherent sadness. AC