October 4, 2008

Rimes Proves She Can Still Bring It

By Carma Wadley Deseret News

At an age when many musical artists are getting their first big break, LeAnn Rimes already has more than a decade of performing under her sequined belt. She's not 13 anymore (that's the age when she burst on the country music scene with her first hit, "Blue"), but she's still got a great voice. She's more more mature -- her voice is more mature -- but she can still bring it, as she proved Friday night at Abravanel Hall.

The concert was a benefit sponsored by Regence Caring Foundation for Children, the nonprofit arm of Regence Blue Cross and Blue Shield that provides free dental care to low-income and uninsured children throughout the state. Rimes noted that she was proud to be associated with the cause. "The smile -- my smile -- is often the first thing people see -- especially when you are on stage. Maybe someday, someone you have helped will shine that smile from some other stage."

Rime's smile was in full force throughout the night, and she was in a party mood, as she performed mostly uptempo, songs from recent albums. She kicked the night off with "Nothin' Better To Do," the first single released off her most recent "Family" album. "Good Friend and a Glass of Wine" and her latest single, "What I Cannot Change," also from "Family," showcased not only her style and range, but also her songwriting abilities. "Family" is the first album where she has written or co-written every song, and she's proved she can do it with the best of them.

But there were other standards, as well, including the fun "Big Deal,""Nothing About Love Makes Sense,""Can't Fight The Moonlight" and "How Do I Live?" There were songs love lost ("Probably Wouldn't Be This Way") and love found ("Something I can Feel") and of "Commitment." There was even a tribute to Janis Joplin and rock 'n' roll with "Summertime."

It was a feel-good concert and a feel-good night. At a dinner and auction at Grand America Hotel preceding the concert, thousands of dollars more was raised for the Caring Foundation as lucky bidders took away everything from a Mercedes Benz Smart Car, trips to the Caribbean and Cabo San Lucas, to nights on the town and at ski resorts, a dinner hosted by former Jazz coach Frank Layden and more.

That, too, is enough to make you smile.

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