If It Wasn’t For You
Modern Country With Plenty of Sharp and Emotional Twists.
I despair when friends and friends of friends tell me; “I love Country Music.” Then I find they only own Cash and Dolly’s Greatest Hits and now listen to Classic Country radio or; God Forbid (shiver) ……. The Spottyfi.
All of that has a place in the musical spectrum of course; but they’s gonna miss out on so much great and interesting music being released by the likes of Caylee Hammack.
Even before you ever hear a note on this album; knowing Reba McEntire, Ashley McBryde and Tenille Townes are involved should be enough to spike your interest; it certainly did mine.
I love the gentle way that opening track Just Friends starts in a Dolly kinda way, then bang, boom ……. wallop Caylee throws down a series of firecracker chords that blows a wheel off the wagon; leaving her to take us on a frightening downhill trip on three wheels and hope!
Yessiree Bob; this gal is another ‘one off’ who has her very own style and doesn’t really give a damn if you like her music or not ………. this song and what follows is for and Caylee Hammack; pure and simple.
The single that features a duet with my favourite Redhead, Reba follows and; while the singer herself has hair of a copper hue; the song is loosely based on Caylee’s cousin with fiery red hair and temper to match; simply sizzles and burns through your speakers like a wild fire.
I may have decried Classic Country radio earlier; but there may be a smidgen of a chance that they will play this single this Summer; and if they do and you hear it by chance ………. you will be buying this album 5 minutes later.
When she’s on fire Caylee Hammack really can out Rock the Boys; try King Sized Bed; which is a sad love story played out through an intense power ballad riff that feels like a punch to the heart.
Speaking of ‘sad love songs’, Gold finds the singer alone with a plaintiff acoustic guitar and will bring a tear to a glass eye; and make everyone who hears it hate whoever she is singing about.
Ms. Hammack has had a hand in writing ever song here; and once you get past the heartache in her voice and listen carefully to Sister and Forged in the Fire you will know you are hearing someone who has ‘lived that life’ and can write those stories down in a way most of her contempories can’t come close to.
I love the way that Caylee juxtaposes her love and appreciation of the Classic sound with a 21st Century approach to not just her songwriting but the way she wants to sound.
Which brings me to the songs I’ve filtered down to selecting a single Favourite from; and coincidentally (possibly) all three sit side by side in the middle.
Family Tree sounds like something Jeannie C Riley would have sung; but laced with steroids; Mean Something actually sounds quite dark and dangerous; and this slightly menacing song of a woman staring at the light at the end of the tunnel, which features Ashley McBryde and Tenille Townes on molasses thick harmonies that will cling to your memory for a long, long time.
Then, there is Small Town Hypocrite.
Okay; Caylee isn’t the first and won’t be the last songwriter to scratch at the scab that covers what really goes on in small towns and suburbs all around the world; but on Small Town Hypocrite she captures the fear and minutiae that inhabits the shadows like few others before here …….. and it is therefore the RMHQ Favourite Track on a rather exceptional debut album; from a very talented singer and songwriter.
Released August 14th 2020
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