close

EPs

EPs

Review: Lauren Alaina “Getting Good”

LA_GG_EP_Cvr_10x10_HIres_WEB

Lauren Alaina is one of the most hard-working people in country music. Ask anyone and I’m sure they’d agree. Years after placing second on Season 11 of American Idol, Alaina has continued to prove time and time again that’s she’s here to stay. After releasing her second album “Road Less Traveled” back in 2016, Lauren has toured extensively with numerous artists, been a featured artist on tracks with the likes of Kane Brown, Chris Young, Hardy and most recently Dustin Lynch. She also participated in the latest series of “Dancing with the Stars” as a finalist and finished her first headlining tour in the U.S earlier this year after a fabulous trip to the UK last Summer.

With all that being said, it’s time for new Lauren Alaina music and while we don’t have a full album yet, we do have the brand-new EP “Getting Good” to tide us over in the meantime, which is just as exciting, especially with 5 out of the 6 tracks being co-written by Lauren herself.

The EP starts with “In My Veins” instrumentally it sounds like a good Shania Twain throwback with a 2020 update while still being a true Lauren Alaina song. In some respects, it feels like the older sibling of “Georgia Peaches” with similar themes of being proud of where she’s from and not changing as a person, even though everything around her has probably changed drastically over the years. You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl.

Life is pretty hard, right? We all have these expectations that certain things in life will make us happy once we achieve them if we ever do. Whether it’s that we should have our dream jobs, own our own house, be married or settled down at an age deemed appropriate by society. It’s easy to use others success or life ‘achievements’ as a comparison and think you’re not on track with your own. I know I do that or used to anyway.  “Getting Good”, Alaina’s latest single is a great reminder that we should all take into account what we do have, rather than have the grass is greener on the other side outlook – because ultimately, we can only live in the present and appreciate that for what it is.

“Somebody Else’s Problem” is the sassiest breakup song that I never knew I wanted or needed from Lauren Alaina. The comparison between wasting time and money on a car to the effort put into a relationship that you know you should let go of because it’s a drain is such a clever analogy and I’m here for it! I can’t wait to hear this performed live, it’s sure to be a new crowd-pleaser.

If there was ever a song that should’ve been a number 1, it should’ve been “Ladies in the 90’s”. During a time where women struggle to get airplay on Country radio, this was a perfect song that was upbeat and fun whilst still addressing the issue at hand with all the fun nostalgia.

The 90’s were a great time for women in the genre, with the likes of Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Shania Twain, Reba – the list of artists could go on and on – enjoying big success. Those were the women our generation looked up to, they were the artists who young girls would see and make them think they could be a singer. Fast forward to today, and unfortunately, it’s much harder for women to have that level of success. This was one of my favourite songs of any artist in 2019, I defy you to not have a loud sing along while listening to it!

Lauren has released relationship songs in the past, but “Country in Me” feels like a new take on love and newfound happiness. “Country in Me” talks about finding a new love that brings out the real you and in Lauren’s case probably reminds her of home and where she came from, which is a recurring theme with the new music.

“The Other Side” is one of the most wonderful songs about love, loss and faith. I am the first to admit I am not a religious person, but I appreciate what having faith does for others and this story of Sam, Lauren’s Stepdad who sadly lost his battle with cancer in 2018 is beautiful and will mean a lot to people in their time of need – whether that be in times of questioning their faith or dealing with the loss of a loved one. Lauren has always been an open book and her music is very personal, but I think it was very brave of her to share this incredibly personal story with the world.

My only issue with an EP, is that it makes me want the full album right away but then I guess that’s the whole point. However, I’m a greedy music fan and want it now. It’s no secret that in-between “Road Less Traveled” that Lauren has experienced a lot, and it shows in her new music.

This body of work is a great example of what Lauren Alaina does in the best way; she turns her life into art. Which I can imagine at times can be a very vulnerable thing to do, to have an audience to some of your peaks and lows but as with “Road Less Traveled”, it’s been done incredibly well – this EP has everything it can within 6 tracks, it’s fun, feisty, hopeful and sad all in one and I personally cannot wait to hear the album in its entirety. I feel I’ve said this a lot over the years, but I truly believe that she will be one of the artists, just like her own in “Ladies in the 90’s” that when we look back a few years from now, she will be one of the genre’s big stars and rightly so.

You can learn more about Lauren Alaina by visiting her official website or by following her on her social media pages;

You can listen to “Getting Good” on any of the listed platforms here.

read more
EPsReviews

Review: LeAnn Rimes “Re-Imagined”

LRReimagined

Think back to when you were eleven years old. What were you doing?

LeAnn Rimes was signing her first record deal with Curb Records and embarking on a career that has so far spanned two decades, eleven album releases, over 37 million album sales worldwide to date and not to mention the award nominations and wins.

If you think back to the 90’s/00’s and consider songs that would be on the soundtrack of those years, LeAnn Rimes’ music would be high on those lists. Some of my favourite LeAnn songs were recorded when she was just a teen, and most of those were about love and heartbreak yet at the time she was still so young and probably hadn’t lived through what she was singing about, but her deliverance of the lyrics was always convincing.

“One Way Ticket” is a song that I’ve always loved, however the lyrics never seemed to fit the original melody for me and is something I thought would benefit from having a more subtle, mellow arrangement. Fast forward to 2017, and that’s exactly what I heard when LeAnn performed a more stripped back version during her UK tour. It felt as though LeAnn connected with the lyrics on a more personal level, because since it’s releasing it back in 1996, LeAnn has experienced love, loss, heartbreak and life in general. From that night, I hoped it would be released in some capacity and thankfully it has been along with other hits in the form of “Re-Imagined”.

“How Do I Live” was a huge hit and is one of the first songs I remember hearing during my childhood. There are certain songs that shouldn’t be touched or tweaked in anyway, because if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

I have always had that attitude about this song but having said that it feels as though over the last few years LeAnn has made a lot of changes both personally and professionally that changed the way she performs, how she interprets music and delivers a lyric which is very evident in the new version.

I felt the original was about someone who was so in love with another person that their whole being is about them, they love the other so much that they can’t imagine life without them but the “Reimagined” version is more of a love letter. It’s stripped back, still vulnerable but has a warm, content feel and is a new and improved version that I never knew I wanted in life.

“Can’t Fight the Moonlight” originated from the movie “Coyote Ugly”, where LeAnn provided the vocals for Piper Perabo’s character Violet Sanford. This version is the first of two live tracks on the EP and has more of a bluesy vibe and is more up-tempo. It’s a good filler in between the ballads but for me, it’s the only one on the EP that I feel doesn’t work quite as well as a recording as it does at a show with the crowd atmosphere.

“Blue” was the track that made people make the comparison between LeAnn and the late, great Patsy Cline. The second of two live tracks, it keeps much of what made the original recording so special but of course over the years LeAnn’s voice has gotten stronger and more mature making it quite a nostalgic revisit to what kickstarted her career.

LeAnn Rimes and Stevie Nicks is a duet I never thought would work. Their voices and musical style feel worlds apart, and when I saw the duet was “Borrowed”, I didn’t know what to expect but everything came together and worked. “Spitfire” is one of LeAnn’s most personal albums, with “Borrowed” being a brutally honest song from a tough period in her personal life and Stevie’s vocal harmony adds an at times sombre feel to a very vulnerable song.

If you are a fan of LeAnn Rimes or are a radio listener, you will have heard these songs in their original form and what has stood out with the “Re-Imagined” EP is that they are a group of timeless tracks that were great the first time round, but for me I was a kid during that time and as much as I loved the songs I didn’t connect emotionally because I couldn’t but now as a twenty something, they take on a whole different meaning and that’s something I adore about music.

Over the last few years, LeAnn has produced some of her best and most authentic work. When the new version of “One Way Ticket” was released, I thought it was because of fans requesting it after hearing it at the live shows, never did I think this project would follow but it was a very pleasant surprise and it makes me excited to hear what’s next.

Track Listing;

  1. How Do I Live
  2. One Way Ticket
  3. Can’t Fight the Moonlight
  4. Blue

You can learn more about LeAnn Rimes by visiting her official website or by following her on her social media pages;

You can listen to “Re-Imagined” on any of the listed platforms here.

read more
EPsReviews

Review: Lucie Silvas “Just for the Record”

LSJFTR

There have only ever been three songs in the history of my twenty something years on earth that have made me cry the first time I heard it, and those are “I’m Gonna Love You Through It” by Martina McBride, “Same Day, Different Bottle” by Lauren Alaina and “Either Way” by Chris Stapleton. There are now four, with the release of “For the Record” by the outrageously talented Lucie Silvas.

While many are discovering Lucie Silvas just recently, UK fans will know that she had a very successful career here before moving stateside and settling in Nashville where she is now making the music she was quite clearly born to make.

The first album of what I like to call the start of Lucie’s musical rebirth “Letters to Ghosts” was released back in 2015 and since then I’ve been looking forward to hearing more, and today is the day! Lucie released two new tracks, “My Old Habits” and “Just For The Record” June 2nd which I recommend you go and buy.

“Just for The Record” will break your heart, it is as simple as that and I will go as far to say that Lucie Silvas is the female Chris Stapleton. Her voice and lyrics in this song are haunting, full of a vulnerability that will resonate with listeners. Although it’s sung from the perspective of someone who has done their lover wrong, the chorus and second verse can be interpreted from any point of view, whether you’re the one who has done wrong or been the innocent party.

From the opening verse, to the first chorus of “And I won’t hate you if you wanna forget me, and say it was all a cloud of smoke, say it was nothing but a joke. Everything that you say about me is true, but just for the record I really loved you.” It doesn’t matter how much I’ve heard this song, and trust me it’s been on repeat for weeks, my eyes leak every damn time. Regardless of what happens in a relationship I think everybody wants to feel like it mattered and the line “just for the record I really loved you” is hard hitting because in any situation, whether a person is right or wrong with their actions, it doesn’t mean they didn’t love the other.

This track makes me excited to hear what Lucie Silvas has been working on, as I previously mentioned this sound feels like a musical rebirth for the Brit and I absolutely love it.

You can buy “Just For the Record” and “My Old Habits” on iTunes, and make sure you follow Lucie Silvas on her social media pages to keep up to date. You can also see her headline this years Nashville Meets London on Sunday 23rd July 2017 at Canada Square Park in Canary Wharf, London – more information can be found here.

read more
Reviews

Review: Adam Wakefield, “Blame It On Me”

AWBlameItOnMe

You may know him as a finalist on Season 10 of the US version of “The Voice” where he finished in second place as a member of Blake Shelton’s team. Despite not winning, Adam Wakefield’s raspy voice will be one that we have not heard the last of.

Competing on a national singing show can be the make or break of an artist, some capitalize on the exposure and some seem to disappear into the abyss but luckily for us Wakefield is working on his first EP and in the meantime has released his new single “Blame It on Me” to give fans a taste of what they can expect.

Upon first listen it is difficult to not make the comparison between Wakefield and Chris Stapleton, but that’s not a bad thing. Both artists have very distinctive voices and have bluegrass roots but Wakefield has more of a rockier edge to his sound which will set him apart.

“Blame It on Me” is a song that can be interpreted in different ways and the view point in which the story is told will change with each listen, going from a guy who is willing to accept responsibility for wrongdoings that he maybe didn’t do at all to appease his ex who he wants back or him accepting blame for what he did do that he wants to make right.

Everything comes together to create a great track to introduce himself as an artist, from the lyrics, the production to his soulful vocals which really shine and pack a punch during the chorus’. As a first single, Wakefield has done a brilliant job and I’m already waiting as patiently as I can to hear more.

You can hear the single yourself on Spotify, where it is featured on our “Completely Country Loves” Playlist or by downloading from iTunes.

To keep up to date with Adam Wakefield, you can follow him on social media;

read more
Reviews

Review: Carolynne, “Coming Back to Me”

Carolynnebackground

When Yorkshire based singer and songwriter Carolynne auditioned for X Factor back in 2012, the Country Music scene here in the UK was full of excitement at the prospect of a Country artist being on such a big show and that the genre might grab the attention of an audience of millions. Carolynne made it as a finalist on the show, however was eliminated on the first live show but not without a stellar performance of Faith Hill’s “There You’ll Be”.

Fast forward to 2017 and Carolynne is set to release her long-awaited EP “Coming Back to You”, which will be available to buy or download April 7th 2017.

“Coming Back to Me” starts with a tribute to her Grandmother who introduced Carolynne to country music, in the form of a haunting version of The Supremes classic “Stop in the Name of Love”. It’s a step away from the original while managing to keep the soul aspect, but a great version of a classic

Diving into the first up tempo number, the title alone is fun and grabs my attention “Cupid Must Have Been High”. It’s a song that I can imagine TV show character Juliette Barnes singing on CMT’s “Nashville”.

“Real Man” is a sassy number about wanting to find the right guy instead of attracting the wrong ones. Lyrically it’s quite clever, includes references to all the modern dating mishaps in a humorous way and is a track I’m sure it’ll make listeners smile in agreement – particularly fans of “50 Shades of Grey”.

At times there can be a divide with UK country fans on homegrown acts, are they country or not? Much like the genre as a whole I suppose. However, if you were to make a compilation of tracks that best represent UK Country acts, “Let Me Unlove You” should be on it. It’s a beautiful ballad that shows breaking up with someone isn’t always that simple and love doesn’t go straight away even if you’ve been done wrong. Amongst the fun and upbeat tracks on the ep, this shows a more vulnerable side of Carolynne and allows her to really shine as a serious songwriter, highlights what a strong vocalist she is and is exactly the kind of track I wanted from her.

Finishing with “Coming Back to Me” the title track is about Carolynne coming back to music, with her saying “I’ve lost my way with music at points in my life, I’ve fallen in and out of love with it but it always finds its way back to me”.

Track Listing;

  1. Stop in the Name of Love
  2. Cupid Must Have Been High
  3. Real Man
  4. Let Me Unlove You
  5. Coming Back to Me

Having seen Carolynne perform live on a couple of occasions and hearing the “Coming Back to Me”, it’s clear that she can mix up fun and tongue in cheek numbers with more serious ballads well and I have to say it’s ballads where she excels and where her vocal talent really shines through. “Let Me Unlove You” is the highlight of the ep for me and I’m sure it will be for many others, as is “Stop in the Name of Love.” It’s nice to see an artist be able to switch from fun and sassy to serious and with an element of drama quite easily, as it shows different sides to her personality and as a performer.

“Coming Back to Me” is a solid effort for a debut ep that is a perfect blend of ballads and up tempo songs and hopefully will be the catalyst to more music. With UK artists beginning to get more exposure, now is the perfect time for Carolynne to strike while the iron is hot and she can certainly do that with this material. If you get the opportunity to see Carolynne perform live, I definitely recommend that you do.

read more
X