Like many new country recording artists coming out of Nashville, Julie Roberts got her start doing office work for the same label that signed her (in this case, Mercury Nashville). And like many country music stars before her, she started singing country and blues in her hometown (Lancaster, South Carolina) before moving to Music City to chase a dream down. Unlike many of her contemporaries, Roberts was allowed to unleash a debut album that owes more to Shelby Lynne's soulful grit than Shania Twain's harmless commercial radio pop. Good thing she worked with producer Brent Rowan, who's mixed albums by the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd, because in this day and age it's quite uncommon for the investors of a large music corporation to allow risks to be taken. Those who favor the likes of Lynne, Bonnie Raitt or Lucinda Williams over the cookie-cutter products of Nashville's assembly line will find warmth and originality in Roberts' down-home music and soulful singing.