Kelly Clarkson with Vince Gill — “Don’t Rush”
No longer content with slight traces of pedal steel and fiddle, country-leaning American Idols have taken to teaming up with traditionalists: Carrie Underwood with Randy Travis, Scotty McCreery and Josh Turner and, now, Kelly Clarkson and Vince Gill.
Credit goes to Clarkson for pairing up with one of the genre’s best, right on the heels of her last duet with one of its biggest. Gill is a country star of a different caliber than “Don’t You Wanna Stay” partner Jason Aldean – less buzzy, to be sure, but no less busy. Since his last Top 20 mainstream radio hit in 2002, Gill has flexed his creative muscles on three studio albums, include 2006’s 43-song These Days, and collaborated with a range of artists.
On “Don’t Rush,” Gill takes on a lesser role than Aldean’s standard partnership, combining his trademark harmonies with Clarkson’s famously powerful vocals. Both sound at ease as Clarkson plays with phrasing, polishing off lyrics like “Stopping every minute just because you’re in it/Wishing everyday was Sunday, you’re right next to me/It’s how it’s supposed to be/Just hanging on every touch” to a groovy, easy-listening rhythm reminiscent of Crystal Gayle. But just as “Don’t Rush” starts to shimmer, it fizzles.
Once the novelty runs out through the first chorus, the song fades off and into a more beige and less brazen version of James Otto’s “Just Got Started Lovin’ You.” It’s pretty but boring, perfect background music for a romantic comedy’s scenic introductory sweeps through New York City in the fall. Without Clarkson’s trademark bite from modern pop classics “Miss Independent” and “Since U Been Gone,” the song slips safely into neutral and coasts on Clarkson’s vocal chops.
As her second solo offering to country music, listening to “Don’t Rush” should do little to soothe naysayers still bewildered by Clarkson’s surprising Country Music Association nomination for female vocalist – but they’ll probably forget about it shortly after, anyway.
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