Brand New Day
CD ($9.99, exclusively at Target and online)
For her singing debut, the Headline News Network Morning Express anchor set her sights on Nashville, roped in some of Music City’s top writers and pickers, and saddled up with a producer (Victoria Shaw) who also helped get another once-fledgling country act, Lady Antebellum, spectacularly off the ground. The result: Meade belts it out with such gusto, control and confidence, a casual listener would never guess country music isn’t her full-time gig, especially on the sassy “Put My High Heels On” and “A Nice Bunch Of Girls” and the gorgeous ballads “In Valentine” and “You Will.” (And her banjo-driven hoedown on “Dirty Laundry,” the ‘80s Don Henley news-satire classic, is a good-humored hoot.) John Rich, Billy Dean, Jim Brickman and American Idol finalist Bo Bice lend their vocal talents, but the guest-star power doesn’t take any of the shine off Meade, who glows in this new solo spotlight like it’s one—make that another one—in which she was born to bask.