Today Dave Spencer and I held our weekly music to listen to new tunes, review the fading ones and where they should go in the WBKR rotation, and to judge the quality and placement of our current  crop. When we finished we realized we needed one more song. Rodney Atkins has a new one we considered. Also, Chris Cagle. Then, I remembered I saw an ad this morning for a new Faith Hill. So, Dave went to find the tune and sure enough we liked it so much we put it right on. And, it has been years since I heard a Faith Hill song I liked out of the chute. I think, AMERICAN HEART, is her best since 1999.

So before you read any farther I am going to turn it over to ol' Billy Dukes, former radio guy and now a reviewer-writer for our friends at Taste of Country. He will give you his review. It's lovely. Billy?

Faith Hill has a new album finished, but it seems fans won't get to hear it until a single sticks. 'American Heart' is at least the third new song fans nationwide have heard -- including 'Come Home' and the title track, 'Illusion,' played during the 'CMA Music Festival' special on ABC. Like the others, it's a thick production made accessible by the wonder of Hill's voice. The singer really shines on 'American Heart.' In fact, her performance rescues the song from drowning in cliches and heavy messages. Small towns, big cities, Texas skies and the stars and stripes... you'll find it all on this mid-tempo country number.

"It beats like a drum down in New Orleans / Sings like a Motown melody / It dreams like California / Bigger than a Texas sky / It bleeds, it scorns, but it shines when times get hard / You can't break an American heart," Hill sings during a catchy chorus that's easy to remember.

Early on, the verses are rich with real sympathy and emotion that women and married men over a certain age will identify with. Hill will be relying on an older audience to make 'American Heart' a hit -- something that worked for Martina McBride with 'I'm Gonna Love You Through It.'

"She's up before the sun, on the run / Another dollar another day another cup of coffee / Thank you Lord / For giving me one more / She still leans on her dreams but it seems / Sometimes she's the only one who still believes that life is hard / So she takes it on with an American heart," she sings.

The grandiose nature of the single leaves it feeling imposed upon us instead of there to discover. It's difficult to tone down a powerful singer like Hill, and often no attempt by a producer is necessary or wise. However, the weight of the this story combined with the strong vocals make a cut that's difficult to access the first time around. Ultimately the success of a country single depends on the willingness of listeners to wear it as their own, but 'American Heart' appears to be something not made of breathable fibers.

Listen to Faith Hill, 'American Heart'