Kacey Musgraves Same Trailer Different Park Album Review

Kacey Musgraves Delivers with Debut Same Trailer Different Park Album! There is a lot of real, solid talent on the country music scene, but even in this sea of amazing folks, there are clear stand outs. Kacey Musgraves with her debut album release Same Trailer Different Park is one of those individuals that was quite simply born to shine. Her first single “Merry Go Round” was a runaway success with a Billboard peak at 14 and current spot of 16 on the Hot Country Songs chart, and like that single this album is honest, smart, original, well written and beautifully composed. As a Texan, I’m probably biased, but Musgraves has that strength, raw energy and authenticity that we consistently hear from the Texas-centric country artists, and I am just blown away by her. All I can say is look out country, because Kacey is here to take you by storm! Top 5 Best Things About Kacey Musgraves Debut Album. 1. Refreshing perspective. Musgraves has her finger on the pulse of the heartbreak that runs through country music, but she approaches it in an altogether modern way. The sentiment may be familiar, but the message is brand new. 2. Beautiful lyrics like this: “If you want to find the honey, you can’t be scared of the bees. If you want to see the forest, you’re gonna have to look past the trees.” -Silver Lining (Track 1) 3. Soft delivery of strong words. Kacey doesn’t (and shouldn’t!) hold back in sharing her POV, but she does it with such a kind voice that it all goes down smooth without losing any poignancy. 4. The use of Harmonica on “My House.” There is a lot of great instrumentation on this album, but for some reason this element in this song in particular delighted me! 5. Witty and insightful observations like this: “Whatever gets you high will always bring you down.” -Step Off (Track 7) Listen to Samples from Kacey Musgraves Same Trailer Different Park Album! Same Trailer Different Park Complete Track Listing. 1. Silver Lining 2. My House 3. Merry Go ‘Round 4. Dandelion 5. Blowin’ Smoke 6. I Miss You 7. Step Off 8. Back On The Map 9. Keep It To Yourself 10. Stupid 11. Follow Your Arrow 12. It Is What It Is Musgraves has toured with country mainstays like Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss, and Lady Antebellum, and you can currently find her on select dates with Kenny Chesney’s No Shoes Nation 2013 Tour! Keep up with her on her official website and of course, Twitter!

Gary Allan Set You Free Album Review

Gary Allan Hits with Full Force with New Album Release Set You Free. Gary Allan‘s single “Every Storm (Runs Out Of Rain),” featured on his new album which dropped last week, is already a run away success having reached Gold status earlier this month. After listening to Set You Free from beginning to end and over again, it’s simple to see that “Every Storm” is in good company with the other eleven tracks featured on the new record. Allan’s album has that rocker edge to it that we all know and love, and each song reaches right in and grabs a hold of you, pulling you in with well-written lyrics, haunting and/or catchy melodies and Gary’s gruff but velvety vocals. Poetry of a Broken Heart. The major theme on this album is easily heartbreak. Even songs like “You Without Me”  and “One More Time” that aren’t strictly about broken hearts and relationships are still  heart wrenching because the love and desire for a life well lived he describes are just so intense! Even though most of the songs share different variations of this common thread, each song still manages to be poetic, unique and powerful. There is a different story for each track, and each is as compelling as the next. With “Sand In My Soul,” it is easy to visualize the beach, the tiki bar, and a lone figure drinking alone then shuffling off to his room as the world moves on around him. Anyone who has loved can relate to the addiction metaphor  (“stoned mind” “jonesing for another kiss” “high on love” “strung out on a woman”) employed in “Hungover Heart.” As you listen to the album, each track is just a vivid as the next and it’s difficult to not have an emotional reaction to the music. Two songs which stand out from the heartbreak theme are “Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain)” and “Good As New.” Both of these tracks are optimistic and bolstering. Like the heartbreak songs, these two tunes don’t deny the hurt in the world, but highlight it, and in the process emphasize just how good the good things really are in contrast. This lyrical quality is in keeping with the more mournful tunes as it still maintains a poetry and powerfulness that is certain to touch listeners. It’s The Little Things. Besides having 12 well-written, compelling and unique songs on Set You Free, there are little details embedded in each song that add musical diversity to the album as a whole while setting the tracks apart from each other. In “Bones” there is a strong presence of harmonica that gives it a serious groove. The intro to “It Ain’t The Whiskey” features an organ riff that immediately caught my attention. With “Sand In My Soul“, the fiddle stands out and really adds an extra layer of sorrowfulness to accompany the lyrics. When we get closer to the end of the album “Drop” really shakes things up with a jazzy/bluesy quality that increases Continue reading

Randy Houser How Country Feels Album Review

Randy Houser’s New Album How Country Feels Well Worth the Wait! With the first few guitar strums and drum beats of “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight“, the first track on Randy Houser‘s new album How Country Feels, country fans are sure to be hooked. This first song has more of a pop edge than I expected from Houser, but its feel good, live in the moment lyrics immediately made me feel warm and happy (despite the cold January chill right outside my window!). From that first song, the record just gets better and better as it balances between a variety of sounds, themes and rhythms. Upbeat and Living In The Moment. Tracks like “Growin’ Younger,” “Top Of The World” “Absolutely Nothing,” “Goodnight Kiss,” and “Let’s Not Let It” keep things on the livelier side going back and forth between pop-ish (“Goodnight“) and more rock-ish (“Growin“). Lyrically, these songs encourage focusing on the important things in life and living in the moment in that way only a country song seems to be able to do. Anyone of these songs would be perfect for a Friday night bonfire or a lazy afternoon, and country fans are sure to have them playing on repeat. Slow and Bittersweet. On the other hand, Houser, slows things down and strikes a bittersweet note with the lovesick tune “The Singer“,  almost ballad-esque tracks like “Power of A Song,” and “Like A Cowboy,” and the gospel tinged “Along For The Ride.”  The music and lyrics of these tracks add an extra dimension to the album when placed along the faster songs, and proves that Randy Houser is capable of offering fans more than just one brand of country. Southern Rock Vibe. This album also embodies a broad spectrum of a southern rock vibe that is distinctly heard in three of the songs, title track “How Country Feels, “Shine” and “Sunshine On The Line.” If you were to put these three songs on that southern rock spectrum “How Country Feels” is at the least intense end with more pop-country mixed in with the electric guitar. “Sunshine On The Line” rests at the opposite end of that spectrum bordering on an almost hard rock sound opening with an intense guitar riff and raw vocals from Houser. “Shine” features a blue collar storyline, noticeable keyboards and more electric guitar than you hear from the average mainstream country tune. It’s not quite as intense as “Sunshine” and lacks any of the radio pop friendly elements in the title track, so it rests in the middle of the spectrum. Altogether, this southern rock vibe just adds yet another layer to Randy’s already complex sound heard throughout the album. A Heck of a Duet. One of the best moments on this album, though, is the powerful duet between Houser and CMNB favorite Kristy Lee Cook on “Wherever Love Goes“! Houser’s and Cook’s voices blend perfectly and compliment each other wonderfully. One thing I really appreciate is the mellow production on this song, the music is toned Continue reading

Easton Corbin All Over The Road Single Review

Single Review: Easton Corbin All Over The Road, Has It Got The Staying Power? I have to say apart from “Lovin’ You Is Fun” I had never really listened to Easton Corbin. So when I first heard this song, I was bowled over by how purely 90s it sounded (I’d like to clarify that I mean that positively!) Although I don’t listen to any particular artists from the 90s, sometimes I put on 90s country internet radio just to relax with, and if I had heard this song play on it, I wouldn’t have been any the wiser. Easton’s voice has that tonal quality to it, and the production that surrounds it, to make it a real tribute to that sound from 20 years ago. Tribute to 90’s Country, but Modern Too. However, despite the musical era it’s rooted in, there are elements of modernity. For example, the guitar solo reminds me of the songs of some of the biggest stars in Nashville right now. When the final chorus kicks in, the instrumentation is suddenly stripped back to the acoustic guitar playing a melody-based pattern, something which has often been used and is very effective. As expected, the drums then kick in, and the steel guitar and other instruments join it to complete the song as it began. Relaxing Quality But Is That Enough? As a song it’s fairly simple, it’s foot-tapping, head-bobbing, and is perfect for the car radio, or perhaps a bar. However, the beat is slower than other songs of its type, and doesn’t encourage liveliness. Rather, it’s a cheerful, fun song that asks you to chill with a beer for a bit. The melody is simple and easy to sing along to, there’s not a huge range of notes, and it perfectly functions as something to have on while you’re relaxing. Lyrically it repeats a lot of the ideas recycled again and again in country music, about driving with his girl, getting a little frisky, high on life, and not being able to wait until he can get her home. May Not Have Staying Power. This is well and good and I like the song, but it’s not a song I can get very excited about. It doesn’t hit me in any sort of which way, and unfortunately, it feels a little average. Songs to ‘have on in the background’ aren’t necessarily the ones to stick around. ‘Lovin’ You Is Fun’ Easton’s previous release, did so well because it had that catchy hook. Whilst this song has kind of catchy elements, it blends into the wallpaper of country music far more, and I fear it will get lost among the rest. I think it will do fairly well in the charts because Easton’s star is growing, particularly after his previous single being the 8th top selling country song in all of 2012 (according to Billboard’s end of year charts), but it won’t be one that people remember particularly, not as far as I can see. Looking Continue reading

Lee Brice: I Drive Your Truck Single Review

Lee Brice “I Drive Your Truck” Straight To A Country Hit? – Review. Lee Brice missed out on being honoured as winner of the New Artist Award at the 2012 CMA Awards, but that’s to no detriment of his music. He’s not new to the scene as the nomination suggests, but released an album in 2010, Love Like Crazy that managed to get to number 9 in the charts. I’ll be honest in saying that I’d never heard of him until the release of “A Woman Like You” that shot in to the number 1 country spot, with its follow-up “Hard to Love” coming in at number 4. His new release “I Drive Your Truck” is certain to do well, and I predict a solid number 2 for this country/pop belter that really pulls at the heartstrings. The Story Behind the Single. Lee has previously said that he’s dedicating this song to his granddad, and that when he heard it he just ‘had to record it’. With that background information it’s easy to make sense of a certain interpretation of the song, the lyrics telling the story of a man driving the truck of a loved one who is no longer with them, and trying to cope with the sudden news of death. It’s a theme which is universal, even if not everyone copes with death by driving that person’s old truck, and Lee recognizes that, “people got their ways of coping, oh and I got mine”. Lines such as “that flag and stone ain’t where I feel you anyway” are particularly heartbreaking and I know will be endlessly quoted by people who relate to that very same sentiment. Why This Single Is So Great. Lyrically it’s fantastically crafted, (so hats off to the songwriters Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington and Jimmy Yeary) and is definitely worth listening to properly and pouring over the lyrics for this reason. Musically, it’s a driving kind of song (appropriate) with its ‘driving’ beat and downwards guitar strumming, piano adding a more delicate and softer approach and providing the main riff. There’s also a pedal steel guitar in there to offset the pop/rock feel that is evident through a lot of Lee Brice’s music, for a more country element. Essentially, it’s a power ballad, which is what really makes this song work and emphasizes the feelings of intense emotion and desperation when a loved one dies. Predictions for Lee Brice… This is one of the best lyrical efforts I’ve heard in a long time, and the instrumentation and Lee’s meaningful and slightly straining vocals (great for the song’s mood) are only there to support the lyrics, but only in that they don’t overpower the meaning of the song. With “I Drive Your Truck“, it’s all in the specific details and imagery that makes it so universal and beautiful, because as they say, “it’s always the little things.” Fantastic song, and I can see big things to come both for Lee and this release, as it Continue reading

Taylor Swift Red Album Review

Album Review: Taylor Swift Grows Up and Moves On with Red. There’s no denying that Taylor Swift has positioned herself as a powerhouse in Country Music. So, I think its fair to say that there was a pretty substantial amount of anticipation surrounding her new album, Red, and its release. For the past few years, Swift has been branching out and evolving her musical style, and based on the single releases preceding the album’s debut (today! October 22nd), it was a little unclear to me whether or not Red was going to be a country album or not. Despite its iTunes categorization in the “Country” genre, my short answer is no, this isn’t a country album. However, if you want the long answer and why I don’t think this is a negative thing, read my complete review below. Since the release of her first album, Swift has clearly been on some kind of a musical journey of self-exploration, sharing all of her insights, heartbreaks and hopes with her fans. In a recent interview with a CBS news affiliate, Taylor described the progression of her musical career and album releases saying the following: “Fearless was about the breakthrough and all the discovery… with Speak Now, I felt like I really had something to prove, because that last album was so big. I wanted to write the record by myself, to prove to myself that I could do it… with Red…I wanted to learn. I wanted to take my comfort zone–which at that point was writing songs alone–and I wanted to throw myself into a different realm.”-Taylor Swift After listening to Red end to end more than a couple times, it is easy to see that Taylor was trying to challenge herself and expand with this album. It’s interesting too, because it is very clear that since Speak Now, and especially since Fearless, she has grown up quite a bit. The fairytales are gone, and what we hear in her lyrics are snippets of real life (well, as real as a superstars life can be at this point), and things not going the way you planned, a sentiment anyone can relate to. There is also a complexity to this album, and it is this complexity that I think moves it far beyond the bounds of Nashville. Taylor brings in pop, alternative and even rock elements and blends them with the country sound she debuted with six years ago. While I’m sure many country fans won’t be interested in this new sound, I genuinely enjoy it. Its fresh and its interesting, especially on tracks like “Starlight“, that even has a kind of epic electric guitar riff, and “Holy Ground” with its steady drumbeat and almost punkish edge to the vocals. I’ll be honest though, my favorite tracks are the ones where the echoes of Taylor’s country background come through the strongest like “Everything Has Changed“, “Begin Again“, “Sad Beautiful Tragic“, “I Almost Do” and “Treacherous”. All in all, Red is made of a Continue reading

Easton Corbin All Over The Road Album Review

Easton Corbin Gives Fans What They Have Been Waiting For In All Over The Road. Easton Corbin’s sophomore album, All Over The Road, is, in my opinion, right on the money! It has fun songs about the highs of love and slower-paced songs that show the the lows. The title track is the first one on the album and it gets you happy from the beginning. I can’t help but giggle when I listen to it, picturing the scene Corbin is describing is too cute! “Lovin’ You Is Fun” was the first single from this album and it was a great pick! I am OBSESSED with the first line… “You gotta cousin who’s tellin’ you somethin’ that doesnt’ have nothin’ to do with the love that we’re in, baby” This song definitely makes my heart smile. From the instrumentals to the don’t-care-what-others-think-attitude, it is all around a great tune! “Hearts Drawn In The Sand” is Corbin’s second single. This one, as well as every other track on this album, really gives a clear, crisp listen to Corbin’s sweet, country, signature sound. “Dance Real Slow” gives us that George Strait feel that so many compare Corbin too. I think that it is a great comparison. I believe what makes people think of Strait when hearing Corbin is the songs they sing seem to have the same vibe, nothing about “drinking down a back road.” There’s just a sweet confidence they both exude! “Tulsa Texas” is genius! I have nothing to say about it other than listen to it pronto! I know this album doesn’t drop until next week, but I’m telling you…buy it immediately and play track 10! Then go back and listen to the whole thing! If I had to be the one to pick Corbin’s third single from this record it would be “Are You With Me.” It has a kind of dark feeling, but always ends with just wanting to love someone and having them accept your love. “I want a love so hard it could rip my heart out, get so lost that I’ll never be found, are you with me?“ “That’s Gonna Leave A Memory,” “A Thing For You,” “This Feels A Lot Like Love,” “Only A Girl” and “I Think Of You” all help to mold this album into the perfect little country package! Add a good-looking dance partner and you’ll be set! Remember, All Over The Road hits store shelves and digital outlets alike on Tuesday, September 18! All Over The Road Track Listing: 1. All Over The Road 2. Lovin’ You Is Fun 3. That’s Gonna Leave A Memory 4. Hearts Drawn In The Sand 5. Dance Real Slow 6. A Thing For You 7. Are You With Me 8. This Feels A Lot Like Love 9. Only A Girl 10. Tulsa Texas 11. I Think Of You

Alan Jackson Thirty Miles West Review

Alan Jackson Does It Again With Thirty Miles West. Alan Jackson released Thirty Miles West this summer with “Long Way To Go” as the first single and “So You Don’t Have To Love Me Anymore” as his second. “You Go Your Way” is his current single and it has that classic Jackson feel. Nothing in your face or over-the-top, just the way we like! One of my favorite tracks from this album is “Her Life’s A Song.” I, along with every other girl out there, can relate to it so much. It really isn’t that hard to relate to actually, but you all know when you hear a song for the first time and it reminds you of yourself, you get extremely happy! This song will do that! “Dixie Highway” was recorded with Zac Brown, it has a quick count and is full of Georgia pride! This is not the boys first collaboration, Jackson was featured on ZBB’s album You Get What You Give with “As She’s Walking Away.” “Dixie Highway” is nominated for a 2012 CMA Award in the Musical Event of the Year category. “When I Saw You Leaving” is one of those songs I could listen to over and over. It just sounds so pretty! This record is full of beautiful fiddle and steel sounds, so obviously I’m in love! Thirty Miles West has a great balance and flow throughout, and I wouldn’t expect anything less from Jackson! If you haven’t already, I really encourage you to pick this album up to add to your collection! Thirty Miles West Track Listing: 1. Gonna Come Back As A Country Song 2. You Go Your Way 3. Everything But The Wings 4. Talk Is Cheap 5. So You Don’t Have To Love Me Anymore 6. Look Her In The Eye And Lie 7. Dixie Highway (feat. Zac Brown) 8. She Don’t Get High 9. Her Life’s A Song 10. Nothin’ Fancy 11. Long Way To Go 12. Life Keeps Bringing Me Down 13. When I Saw You Leaving (For Nisey)

Little Big Town Tornado Album Review

Little Big Town Live Up To Album Title and More with New Release Tornado. Country music quartet Little Big Town (Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Phillip Sweet and Jimi Westbrook) released their fifth studio album, Tornado, today, and it is sure to rock your world. Whether you’re looking for something mellow or something more party-oriented, with Tornado, Little Big Town has offered up an engaging and multi-faceted record that will suck you right in. This is the type of album that warrants more than a single listen, and with each listen you’ll uncover another layer. One of the most stand-out features of Tornado is that it is not one dimensional. It’s clear that LBT has more than just a single musical influence with echoes of gospel, blues, folk and rock intertwining with the pop country sound that is consistently present throughout the album. You hear tracks like “Front Porch Thing” that have a down home, southern feel from the a cappella opening to the almost Memphis style blues quality or “Can’t Go Back” with its gospel choir-esque vocals mixed in with songs like “Self-Made” that has a rock/alternative vibe, and you know that LBT is truly invested in the music and that this record comes from a very organic place. In the eleven songs featured on Tornado, there isn’t a generic note to be found, and each song is as engaging as the next. Whether the focus is on the vocals or the instrumentals or the lyrics, each of the four band members shines, and you get the impression that they put their absolute all into this project. There is a great deal of depth in songs like “Sober” (about living life to the fullest), “Your Side of the Bed” (about love gone south), and title track “Tornado” (about a woman done wrong) that feels very personal, and very relatable. Listening to these tracks feels a little like having a conversation with a friend over a drink as they share their troubles with you, and its elements like these (relatability, realness, etc.) that I think country music fans will appreciate the most. Now, all this sounds very serious, but Tornado is also a whole lot of fun! There is their number one single, “Pontoon” that country music fans are still going crazy over, along with other party playlist worthy tunes like “Pavement Ends” (complete with some old school banjo pickin’ and hand clappin’!) and “On Fire Tonight” that you’d have to be dead to not to want to get up and dance to! These mix in well with the other more serious tracks to complete the well-rounded track list! Tornado is the type of project that your casual music fan will love, but also has a lot to offer more hard core music fans, whether you prefer country, folk, blues, pop country or something in between. So, do yourself a favor, and check it out now! Next on my list? Finding my way to a live Little Big Town show! I Continue reading

Blackberry Smoke The Whippoorwill Review

Blackberry Smoke’s New Album The Whippoorwill Is A Rocking Good Time. If there is one thing you can expect from a Southern Ground Artist’s album, you can expect for it be good…real good. With The Whippoorwill (their first release on the label), Blackberry Smoke is definitely living up to that expectation. This quintet has an intoxicating southern rock/outlaw country vibe that reminds me of hot summers growing up in Memphis, TN, and there are two things that stand out on this particular album. First, they are fantastic writers and story tellers, and second, they are very talented musicians. With lines like “I may not change the world, but I’m gonna leave a scar“, “So kiss me one more time and cross every T and dot every I of that pretty little lie“, and “He was named after the hurricane/Blew through in ’79 and he did just about the same” pouring out of each track, it is impossible to deny that these guys have a way with words. More than that though, each track on this album tells its own story, and each is as engaging as the next. You’re listening not only to the music, but also to hear how the story turns out. From “One Horse Town” to “Sleeping Dogs“, Blackberry Smoke really does have their finger on the pulse of dixie living, and listening to their songs is almost like pulling back a curtain and watching the characters’ lives unfold in the lyrics. I think what I appreciate most about these songs and the stories they tell, though, is that they are raw and realistic. There are no rose covered glasses here, just honesty. Yet, and maybe this is because I grew up in the South and this kind of music reaches right in and touches my soul, but even in the honesty and unwillingness to sugarcoat the details, there is still an edge of nostalgia, a warmth that only those with an affinity for southern culture with both its good and bad qualities, can appreciate. In addition to the quality of the writing, these fellows also have some serious chops as far as their music is concerned. From the slower rhythm in the albums title track to the quick pace of the opening track “Six Ways to Sunday“, there is a subtlety and depth to the music on this record, and I have a feeling that the digital prints aren’t doing Blackberry Smoke the justice they deserve. I can hear the influences of the bands I grew up on, like Led Zeplin, as they are mixing bluesy riffs, country sounds, and rock into one original and foot stomping package. Based on what I’m hearing on Whippoorwill, I would really love the hear these guys live because I’m willing to wager they would put on one hell of a show! The Whippoorwill is the first run-in that I’ve had with Blackberry Smoke, and I am very glad that these guys just smashed into my radar. I suggest you Continue reading