By People Staff
April 16, 2001 12:00 PM

Leslie Satcher (Warner Bros.)

Anyone who has ever wondered what a heavenly chorus might sound like need only listen to the opening track, “Love Letters from Old Mexico,” on this performing debut by one of Nashville’s most successful songwriters. On that lovely tune, Emmylou Harris and Alison Krauss provide backing vocals, helping Satcher create an angelic, ethereal sound. The song, one of Satcher’s bittersweet explorations of romance, touches on the emotional potency of letters, those thoughtful writings people used to send each other before e-mail came along.

Satcher, who approaches Harris’s rare ability to shift moods and also echoes her purity of tone and clarity of diction, sings mostly her own material here, notably “I Will Survive,” a country cousin of Gloria Gaynor’s disco hit of the ’70s, and “Texarkana” (“I need a one-horse town and wide-open spaces”), a salute to her Paris, Texas, roots. But Satcher also successfully revives “Ode to Billie Joe,” the corny country-pop hit written by Bobbie Gentry. This album is bad news for Nashville’s other singers, since Satcher, whose songs have been recorded by the likes of Pam Tillis and Vince Gill, may be tempted to keep her best work for herself from now on. But it’s great news for the rest of us, since a terrific new singer is stepping forward.

Bottom Line: A welcome entrance from behind the scenes