It is normal for a new singer to begin with an album of their own; even those who start as part of a duo, group or band usually start with a solo album when they first break away. I can't think of a precedent where a newcomer records a selection of songs with a whole series of star guests. The only solo track is I'm sorry, the old Brenda Lee classic, but given what else is here, I wonder if the original intention was that Brenda Lee would join in too. Brenda is alive and well despite fake rumors to the contrary, which is the important thing, but she isn't here.
So we get 12 duets and one solo track, although some of the guests feature more prominently than others. Another curiosity is the inclusion of Neil Sedaka (writer of Where the boys are) rather than Connie Francis (who, like Brenda Lee, is alive and well despite fake rumors to the contrary) but Neil does a great job, modifying the lyrics he sings appropriately.
I was surprised to find that she had chosen The fighting side of me from all Merle Haggard's vast selection of songs. I found out that Mary Sarah had been performing it in concert, and that her fans love it, so fair enough. As with Willie Nelson and Ray Price, Merle's voice is past its peak, but still holding up remarkably well. Dolly Parton, Tanya Tucker and Lynn Anderson are still in great form too. The only slight disappointment is that I couldn't hear Vince Gill clearly.
Mary Sarah is a fantastic singer, but where does her career go next? I look forward to finding out.