Entertainment Weekly (8/2/96, p.59) - "...Ironically, such raw, old-fashioned country music, with such a big, twangy, sexy voice at the center, wouldn't be making such a stir in bland '90s Nashville if Rimes weren't 13. In other words, the hype machine has inadvertently coughed up a gem." - Rating: B+
Personnel: LeAnn Rimes, Eddy Arnold (vocals); Johnny Mulhair (acoustic, electric & steel guitars); Jerry Matheny (acoustic & electric guitars); M. Spriggs (acoustic guitar); Dan Huff, Brent Rowan, John Jorgenson (electric guitar); Milo Deering, Bruce Bouton, Paul Franklin (steel guitar); Larry Franklin (fiddle); Kevin Bailey (harmonica); Paul Goad (piano, keyboards, bass); Jimmy Kelly (piano, keyboards); Mike McLain, John Hobbs (piano); Steve Nathan, Kelly Glenn (keyboards); Curtis Randel, Mike Chapman, Glenn Worf, Bob Smith (bass); Fred Gleber, Brad Billingsley, Greg Morrow, Chad Cromwell (drums); Terry McMillan (percussion); Joy McKay, Perry Coleman, Ladonna Johnson, Matthew Ward, Crista Carnes, Kayla Powell, Lisa Criss, Mary Ann Kennedy, Pam Rose, Dennis Wilson (background vocals).
Producers: Wilbur C. Rimes, Wilbur C. Rimes, Chuck Howard.
Engineers: Johnny Mulhair, Greg Hunt, Bob Campbell-Smith.
Recorded at Norman Petty Studios, Clovis, New Mexico; Rosewood Studio, Tyler, Texas; Mid-Town Tone & Volume, Nashville, Tennessee; Omni Sound, Nashville, Tennessee.
LeAnn Rimes won the 1997 Grammy Award for Best New Artist. The title song from BLUE won 1997 Grammys for Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song. The song, written by Bill Mack, was also nominated for Song Of The Year.
The precocious LeAnn Rimes is the 13-year-old owner of a full-bodied voice dripping with the personality and drama so essential to good country music. On the title track, an old-school honky-tonk weeper, Rimes evokes the ghost of Patsy Cline without crossing the line into nostalgia. Most of the songs on BLUE are a more modern variant of the country tradition, but Rimes' uncommon intensity adds a raw edge throughout.
From the piano-based ballad "Honestly" to the roadhouse rock and roll of "My Baby," the common thread here is the passion and character that the young siren invests in each selection. The frosting on the cake is that she packs a mean yodel. This often-overlooked weapon in the country music arsenal is employed in a striking manner on "Blue" and "Cattle Call," a cowboy song on which Rimes duets with country legend Eddy Arnold. Rimes occupies a middle ground between the glories of the past and the promise of the future, with a voice strong enough to carry her along whatever path she chooses.