K.T. Oslin and her band put on a note-perfect show at the Kennedy Center last night, pleasing her fans no end. When she appeared on a riser in a white sequined backless gown the crowd roared, and as she waved her white fan with her satin evening gloves, the applause doubled. The star of the show wasn't the songs or the band, it was Oslin's personality, which made the easy-listening country material palatable. Her earthy anecdotes of life as a struggling singer made everyone want to be her best friend, and made one wonder if the gaudy outfit wasn't meant to be a bit tongue-in-cheek.
She performed a number of songs from her forthcoming album, "Love in a Small Town," the best being one about a woman whose life will get better "Come Next Monday." The rest of the set consisted of utterly unspontaneous renditions of her past successes such as "This Woman" and "80's Ladies." While she doesn't have the most captivating voice in country music, it certainly is clear and warm with a wide range, and her obvious pleasure in becoming a star comes through without arrogance.
The band should have made something special out of the songs, but it could have been any five guys from Nashville, playing hackneyed hired-gun parts. Her drawn-out introduction of the band ironically only pointed out how devoid of personality their playing was. But it was Oslin the crowd came to see and for whom they stood and applauded at the end, and when she asked, "Do you love me?" it was she they were answering.