How do you convince a skeptical country audience that you're country? You get Vince Gill to sing and play guitar on your first true country single. That's what Kelly Clarkson did with 'Don't Rush,' a song she'll perform at the CMA Awards on Nov. 1. The pairing is magic. 

The song is not only country, but it might be too much of a throwback sound for some hungry haters. The singer recently told Taste of Country Nights radio she was going for a Crystal Gayle vibe -- and it shows. Along with Gill, the Texan works through this love song like the premiere vocalist she is.

"I see the way you're looking at me / Baby know I'm feeling it too / We can just light up every candle / Move from room to room," Clarkson sings to close the first verse. Then comes Gill's guitar, which works its way around the song like the soft touch of fingertips caressing the small of your back. You don't notice it, but you never forget it.

A Hammond organ adds to the early '80s vibe of this country-soul song. Clarkson is instantly a vocalist unlike any other active in country music. There's no lack of sincerity as she urges her man to slow it down.

"Stopping every minute just because you're in it / Wishing everyday was Sunday, you're right next to me / It's how it's supposed to be / Just hanging on every touch / Baby don't rush / Baby don't rush," she adds during the chorus, as Gill provides a supportive backing vocal. If this song were any smoother, it would cease to exist as matter.

It's difficult for a female vocalist to sound sexy without drawing criticism. Clarkson's voice is a wine and roses romance, instead of the wanton yearn of a beauty in a too-short skirt. The original 'American Idol' may have found her niche.

4.5 Stars

Listen to Kelly Clarkson and Vince Gill, 'Don't Rush'

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