August 30, 2004 12:00 PM

Where I Belong

Proctor is a Charleston, W. Va., native who sounds like the prehomogenized Shania Twain—emotional, tuneful and vaguely bluesy. And while Proctor is an alumna of Star Search, she—unlike most modern amateur—hour products—has an impressive musical resume, having joined a country band at 17 and later singing with a presiardom Blake Shelton. She also cowrote the Martina McBride hit “Where Would You Be.”

For her own debut album, she cowrote six of the 11 appealing songs—warm, smart and set in a nicely modulated musical frame. “I’m Gonna Get You Back,” for instance, is a lightly rocking dumpee’s pledge backed by inventive fiddling, while “Strong as an Oak” is a bluegrassy hymn to the reassuring inspirational strength of nature. Proctor’s Star Search persona was a Debbie Gibson/Britney kind of thing. Her conversion to country is certainly paying off for her, and it doesn’t hurt country music any, either.

DOWNLOAD THIS: “I’m Gonna Get You Back”

COUNTRY

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