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Silky Strings and Girl-Group Rhythms

Nicole Atkins has a robust, sultry voice that conveys vulnerability and confrontation, seemingly without effort. Imagine if Patsy Cline were the lead singer for The Shangri-Las, or if k.d. lang had been raised on Bruce Springsteen and '80s hair-metal instead of country music.

Atkins' debut album, Neptune City, finds the New Jersey singer-songwriter bending genres to her will. A twinkling piano line opens "Maybe Tonight" as Atkins begins to swathe her noir-pop voice around silky string arrangements and girl-group rhythms. Within seconds, her scorching vocals capture the song's urgency: "I know we'll meet again / Maybe tonight / Just tell me where and when / I know it's never sure / Maybe tonight." As catchy as it is, it's hard not to root for Atkins finding what she's looking for — both in the song and in her immensely promising career.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

Copyright 2008 XPN

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Bruce Warren is assistant general manager for programming of WXPN in Philadelphia. Besides serving as executive producer of World Café, Warren also contributes to Paste magazine and writes for two blogs: Some Velvet Blog and WXPN's All About The Music Blog.