I'm not much for pop country, whether it's from the wholesome Martina McBride, the self-empowering Jewel or the faux-rebellious Gretchen Wilson. But some of it is undeniably hooky, hitting chords that evoke riding a stallion through alfalfa or some equally cliché scene.
Kalispell native Kristi Neumann has a talent for these kinds of hooks, which is why she spends part of her time in Nashville. Each song on her new album Peace in Mystery is crafted to lure you in, even if you're not one for lines such as "I've been seeking truth but we were never promised absolutes"—those kind of sayings that go on bumper stickers.
Yet, all these songs are solidly gorgeous, especially the contagious "Good Girl." Neumann has a stunning voice. She's as good as Faith Hill, and she plays guitar. She writes her own songs, and she could probably write chart-topping songs for any Nashville artist. And she's one of our own.
It's easy to glaze over phrases such as "love will find you" and "seeking truth." Neumann hits the mark better when she's more specific, as in "I don't want to be a sheep so easily led/in a flock of complacent and overfed," and rawer, as in "Why does self-destruction make me feel so alive?" If she keeps doing that, she'll blow minds.
Kristi Neumann plays the Flathead Brewing Company of Missoula Tuesday, Nov. 1, at 8 PM and the Bitter Root Brewery Thursday, Nov. 3, at 6 PM. Free.