You could be forgiven for confusing Wanaka’s Jody Direen with another sometime resident, Shania Twain. Her second album is one pure slice of glossy, Tennessee pop. That’s maybe no surprise for a lady who was ‘discovered’ by Bear Grylls’ management singing in a South Island bars and whisked off to the big smoke to make it.
Indeed Direen really did make this album Nashville and it’s pretty obvious. It’s slick and very professional. Opener Adrenaline is a full slice of Dolly Parton, perfect for the Grand Ol’ Oprey. Mine and Together are more Twain-esque, with plenty of high-heeled swagger. One Way Ticket, Hey Baby and You’re The One are big, bouffy and crash bang glitzy. You can see plenty of Taylor Swift in there too, Danger being the most obvious example. No point arguing that ‘Breaks Out’ is too commercial, too brash, or even a little too twee because that’s the point. Hell, she’s even singing with a southern (U.S. that is) accent – and it works – on the whole. This debuted at #12 in the NZ Top 20. Best of all, she is clearly having fun. This is all about big stars on the door and rhinestones on her dress. Direen has surrounded herself with superb musicians and every song is a squeaky clean cut take on honky tonk.