Willie Nelson FIRST ROSE OF SPRING

WILLIE NELSON
First Rose of Spring
Sony/CMG

Pin Point Americana Pictures, Painted with Laconic Lyrics and Beautiful Imagery.

What do you do when you are a world-wide, iconic elder statesman of Texas, nay American, popular music and you reach the ripe old age of 87? Well, if you’re Willie Nelson and you’ve just won your 13th. Grammy for last year’s critically acclaimed “Ride Me Back Home,” you go straight back in the studio and lay down 11 new tracks for your 70th. studio album.
Yes, there have been 69 previous releases.
The word “legend” just doesn’t do this man justice.
Originally scheduled for an April 2020 release “First Rose of Spring” has been held back, due to the world-wide Coronavirus pandemic, until Friday 3rd. July.
Again, paired with his long-term friend Buddy Cannon as producer, they co-wrote 2 of the songs while the other 9 have been carefully selected from contemporary and traditional song-writers.
Opening with the title track First Rose of Spring, which was composed by the young song-writing team of Randy Houser, Allen Shamblin & Mark Beeson, we are welcomed with a slow, love at first sight ballad that could have been written by Willie himself and really sets the tone for the other 10 tracks.
Blue Star and Love Just Laughed are the 2 tracks that Willie and Buddy co-wrote and again they undoubtedly hit the high standard that the great man just keeps maintaining, even as the years roll on and on and on.
I’ll Break Out Again Tonight provides a heart-wrenching prisoners dream, with a laid back pedal steel guitar adding to the lights out delusion whilst Toby Keith’s Don’t Let The Old Man In fits like a glove; with the hard hitting chorus of
Ask yourself how old you’d be
If you didn’t know the day you were born”.
Stealing Home is another Classic Country ballad that would bring a tear to a glass eye, reminiscing and looking back on an idyllic childhood with the chorus ending with:
damn old Father Time for stealing home”.
Just Bummin’ Around composed by Peter Graves is a slightly humorous, uptempo western-swing tune, whilst the surprise of the album is a completely new song written by Grammy winning, contemporary hit-maker Chris Stapleton, entitled Our Song.
I almost selected Yesterday, When I Was Young (Hier Encore) as my favourite. A superb cover of a 1964 Charles Aznavour chanson which was Roy Clark’s biggest ever country hit in 1969, but my vote goes to We Are The Cowboys.
This is a cover of another long-time hell-raising, outlaw Texan, the one and only Billy Joe Shaver, that has a haunting, home on the range type harmonica backing, to drive home the chorus of :-
We are the cowboys the true sons of freedom
We are the men who will get the job done
We’re picking our words so we won’t have to eat them
We’re rounding them up and then driving them home.
It’s a scene stealing tune about life in the Lone Star State and even more poignantly, it’s written by another walking, talking, fabled Texan.
The pictures painted with such laconic, pin point lyrics simply put the icing on the cake of yet another wonderful set of songs.
How does he keep on doing it? Willie Nelson is truly unique and, as ever, conveys real feelings through his music and makes every song his own.

http://clubluck.willienelson.com/
Released in 3rd. July 2020
Jack Kidd “Messin’ with the Kidd” on Tuesdays http://www.lionheartradio.com

Tenille Townes THE LEMONADE STAND

Tenille Townes
The Lemonade Stand
Sony Music

One Foot Firmly in the Ghost of Country Past; The Other In The Future!

Yes, country music and pop music are still getting blurred together nowadays, most often with mixed results. Now, I’m not going to argue the pros or cons of either, that starts to get a little bit into that “Hey you kids, get off my lawn!” mentality, and reminds me of the arguments I’d have with co-workers about new bands: “That ain’t rock ‘n’ roll!” they’d say and go back to listening to Journey or Styx while I’d slip a New York Dolls cassette into my Walkman and go hide in the back of the file room.
Everything—especially music—is relative to one’s own likes, prejudices and experiences.
So, now that’s outta the way, and we can get to the matter at hand: the debut album by Tenille Townes, originally from Canada, now based in Nashville, USA, home of much of America’s (and the world’s) popular music. Townes has assembled twelve songs on this album, called The Lemonade Stand, with production from Jay Joyce, who’s worked with Emmylou Harris, Little Big Town, Patti Griffin, and many others.
The album as a whole has a punchy, modern pop sound, but still manages to keep its country roots firmly in place. The lead off track “Jersey on the Wall (I’m Just Asking),” is ‘oven ready’ for radio, as is “Holding Out for the One,” and “White Horse,” but it’s the song “Somebody’s Daughter” that is the standout single here for me; as there’s plenty of songs out there about relationships, but not enough about our relationship with people from a less privileged stratum of society. Not that this alone gives it a reason to be listened to—this is pop music after all, we need something to sing along with, a good beat to latch onto, a catchy melody amidst all those words—and Townes makes this one work well despite the heaviness of what could be such a sensitive subject matter.
Lines like:
With the shaky hands
On the cardboard sign
And she’s lookin’ at me

tells me that Townes is no one trick show pony, and to follow that later with:
Now this light’ll turn green and I’ll hand her a couple dollars
And I’ll wonder if she got lost or they forgot her
She’s somebody’s daughter
,”
tells me she’s in it for the long haul, not just writing and singing dance pop fluff.
As for what passes today as Modern Country, this song rocks honestly and makes you think.
This one is timely, for sure, but also timeless, and that’s where it really hits home.
My other favorite on this album is the charming “I Kept the Roses,” which reminds me a little bit of Tywanna Jo Baskette (who’s been missing in action for way too long.)
This is the tune here with the most character. One foot firmly in the ghost of Country music past, the other unafraid to stand out and be different. Townes’ voice is perfect for this sort of song—I’m hoping for more of this on her next album.

Review courtesy The Legendary Roy Peak esq.
Released 26th June 2020
https://tenilletownes.com/

Darlin Brando ALSO TOO ……

Darlin’ Brando
Also Too ……
Self-Release

Modern Traditional Country via The West Coast.

As is oft the case I knew less than nothing about Darlin’ Brando when this album first arrived; but my when my eyes saw the cover artwork I immediately presumed I’d like the contents and might even be angry if I didn’t!
Then; had I picked it up in a record shop and asked the assistant to play a track or two (is that still legal in 2020?) then opening tracks When You Don’t Fight and Those Old Demons would certainly have sealed the deal.
The former is a relatively traditional and delightful duet between Darlin’ Brando himself and Edith Freni (who just happen to be husband and wife); reminding me more of George and Tammy rather than Gram and Emmylou; which is the default setting these days.
Then, Those Old Demons has a hint of Tex Mex in the guitar and pedal-steel; and again the couple sing to and about each other in a way many try but most regularly fail.
I’m a few weeks into the album now; and am impressed by the melodies across most every song; which might sound odd but you’d be surprised to know how much Country music we hear that somehow either fudges the melody or ignores it altogether (Country-Jazz anyone?).
To best understand where this album is coming from you have to know that Darlin’ Brando aka the least sounding Country Singer Brandon Goldstein was born and raised in Virginia then settled in LA after his college days with a stint in Brooklyn in-between before eventually rocking up in downtown Nashville; which accounts for the lovely laid back West Coast sounds on Weeds & Flowers and Year One; but also the Classic thread that links Crumbling Marriages and the up-tempo Honky Tonkying Last Call and beyond.
Last Call, by the way features none other than RMHQ Favourite AJ Croce bashing the piano in the background.
While it’s been very easy to like this album; two songs in particular stand out and are vying for my Favourite Song status.
The Old Man and the Kid closes the album in a neat and gentle West Coast manner, with Darlin’ Brando somehow managing to sound like a solo CS&N; while the other; Therapy is a modern Honky Tonk Classic. Choosing one of life’s great taboos as a theme for a Country song is really brave; but works beyond even the wildest of imaginations.
For a debut album this is well worthy of your attentions; and most certainly leaves several doors open for Goldstein to go through on his new musical adventure.

Released June 19th 2020
https://www.facebook.com/Darlinbrando/
https://brndngldstn.wixsite.com/darlinbrando/?fbclid=IwAR3pQbYLFDRGnlvPBz0FZ5_5d0tQtSYu7ICidugcKX6PGeepJnCHRMcYJ-k


Jessica Lynn RUN TO (Single)

Jessica Lynn
Run To
Daydreamer Records

Dubbed “Shania’s natural successor” and described as “America’s new Country Music Sensation”, Jessica Lynn has a style and range that certainly appeals to fans of Country and Country Rock  but reaches out and beyond to wider Rock-loving audiences, as it did when she played Ramblin’ Man’s Outlaw Country stage  in 2017 – her first performance at a Rock festival, where her cover of AC/DC’s ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ had the whole tent rocking, as did her own songs and stagecraft!

‘Run To’ is Jessica’s first single release of the year. Jessica wrote the song and explains its roots and significance for her: ‘Run To’ is about longing for someone or something no longer in your life, and it details the desperation of wanting to truly FEEL again after love and loss.  I wrote this song from deep in my heart and am very excited that it is my debut single of 2020.”

Perhaps in these strange, locked-down and socially-isolated times, the lyrics may take on extra significance and poignancy, as we find out how much we miss those we love when separated from them, or even – sad to say – lose them, and find out just how much we yearn to run to them?

Released May 22 2020
https://www.jessicalynnmusic.org/

Hannah White and the Nordic Connections SELF-TITLED

Hannah White and the Nordic Connections
Hannah White and the Nordic Connections
Paper Blue Records

Cool, Crisp, Country with an Articulate Americana Edge.

With so much going on in my life at the moment this release very nearly ‘fell through the cracks’ and I may never have forgiven myself.
Bizarrely opening track, Never Get Along seemed like a simple ‘break up’ song when I first heard it a couple of weeks ago. Quite lovely in its own way, and HP Gundersen’s pedal-steel is mesmerising; but listening over the weekend as the Western World is at odds with itself politically and a-politically it now interprates as something of an anthem for love, peace and understanding …….. but perhaps it was just a love song after all; WHO KNOWS?
Phew; let’s leave that debate for another day; as the other songs here are quite magnificent; and in Hannah White Britain is flying the flag for Traditional Country music as high and fervently as possible.
Whooooo….ooo…ooo, the second song Start Again sounds a bit Country Gospellish and the way White’s voice wobbles and warbles on the chorus; like a cross between Loretta and Bobbie Gentry…… and the words are well worthy of both singers too.
Normally I’m non-plussed when acts make a big thing of recording in the analogue format; but here it genuinely gives Hannah’s pearlescent voice an added shimmer; and the every instrument played seem to twinkle like fairy lights on a Christmas tree.
Let’s get back to the songs ……… as they are what you will remember in years to come; with Pay Me a Compliment and When You’re Not Around both showing a songwriting maturity I hadn’t expected; and the sentiment in each will make women weep as they clutch the record sleeve to their heaving bosom and when men hear them, they should rightly think, ‘should do better.’
I find it quite amusing it that male Country singers write homilies to their Sainted Mothers and the female of the species write about their strong and wise fathers; and Hannah White is no different; with a rather lovely homage to her own Papa in My Father; which actually opens up lots of questions about him that I’d like answered ……. but I will leave that for another day.
While owing a lot to Classic Country in many ways; Hannah White’s songs still manage to be contemporary and even edgy in an Americana kind of way; My Father certainly fits that description as does the Murder Ballad The Darkness which surely begs an accompanying video to set your hair on end.
There’s a remarkably restrained energy on many of the songs here; possibly because of the Nordic/Norwegian connection; which brings me to the choice of song for Favourite Track status; the finale Man Without Men is as cold and icy as I’ve heard for many a year; and chillingly beautiful because of it; whereas City Beats is real olde fashioned toe-tapper with a stark undercurrent (if you listen carefully) but for the accolade itself I’m plumping for Gotta Work Harder; as Country as Country gets these days and as Contemporary as the genre gets; with a ‘full on’ production worthy of Gus Dudgeon and if you know your history; Lars Hammersland makes his Hammond sing and swing like Augie Meyes did in the Sir Douglas Quintet!
I was initially charmed by the band’s moniker which is what made me put the disc in the player; and now, a month later it’s taken on a life of its own at RMHQ and in the Magmobile too ……… and don’t be too surprised if it finds its way into the year end Top 20!

Released June 5th 2020
https://www.hannahwhitemusic.com/
Buy it here https://www.hannahwhitemusic.com/shop




Chase Rice THE ALBUM Part II

Chase Rise
The Album Part II
BMG/BBR Music Group

Sometimes Superstars Can Touch Your Heart Too

First of all; don’t tell Trading Standards, but THE ALBUM Part II, is actually a four track EP!
Somehow I appear to have missed out on THE ALBUM Part I when it was released to coincide with a UK and European Tour earlier in the year; but remember reviewing his Lamb’s & Lions a couple of years ago ….. and enjoying it.
I’m not altogether sure what’s behind this release; but it’s possibly a genuine ‘drop’ of some new music from a nascent Country Superstar to cheer his adoring fans in these ‘challenging times’.
I love the crackling intro to first track You, which is reminiscent of those well played 45’s of my youth; and the song itself is a straight up Power Ballad that feels like a punch to the romantic centre of our solar plexus.
That Retro-45 effect comes across on BREAK. UP. DRUNK which comes in at #2; and do you know what? If you stripped away some of the reverb and echo, this song could actually be from the edges of Southern Rock and/or our beloved Alt. Country too…… and who doesn’t like a break up song that revolves around getting drunk on our last night and ‘seeing what happens’?
On first hearing Down Home Runs Deep sounds like Bro. Country By Numbers; but scrape away the veneer and listen closer and it’s a song many of us; myself included that is actually about looking back misty eyed on where we come from, both metaphorically and literally. OK, it’s going to be a flashing lights and squealing guitars ‘balls to the floor’ Rocker on stage; but there’s a genuinely touching story in there too.
Personally I’ve fallen in love with the love song finale, Belong; which in another time/space compendium could even be from Musical Theatre, as the majestic use of melody and a chorus that is to die for makes this a real Crossover Hit! I’m pretty sure it’s been edited down to 3 minutes forty for this release; but somewhere out there is an elongated 12″ remix that out Meat Loaf’s Meat Loaf, and if there is the World really will be a better place for us all.
OK, by our normal standards at RMHQ this is a big ole Country Production that we should dismiss out of hand, but every now and again RMHQ likes to dip its toe in the pond where the sharks swim; and believe it or not we’ve come out unscathed and with a new found admiration for young Mr Rice’s words and music.

Released May 15th 2020
https://www.chaserice.com/#!/



Whitney Rose WE STILL GO TO RODEOS

Whitney Rose
We Still Go to Rodeos
MCG/Factor

Meltingly Gorgeous Countrypolitan Goodness

To say I’ve been looking forward to this release is an understatement – Ms Rose’ previous melodic Classic Country has always ticked the right boxes for this particular reviewer (Me too! ED.) – and “We Still Go to Rodeos” surpasses all expectations.
Now releasing independently via her own MCG management/label, this has seemingly given her greater control to do things her way – and what we have is a delicious potpourri of styles, which is far closer in style to the live Whitney Rose ‘experience’ than perhaps her previous releases.
Kicking things off is “Just Circumstance” a character song coming from the same observational well as the likes of “Truckers’ Funeral;” but this tale tells of a poor girl whose choices in the ‘dice-man’ challenge of life always take her down a path where there’s “No pomp – just circumstance”, set to an arrangement that sounds like early Blondie, if they’d played in Austin rather than NYC.
“Home with you” is meltingly gorgeous Countrypolitan goodness that should unfreeze the hardest of hearts – great chorus too
“I wanna go home with you
Be alone with you
Maybe sit out I the yard and get stoned with you”.

The first single release from the album “Believe me Angela” follows and is a tale of a jilted wife offering sincere and practical advice to the younger woman who’s run off with her man #spoiler – He’s not worth it (he’s a dick!).
The tempo lifts again with a song that Whitney drew from personal experience – “In a Rut” – full of guitars that echo Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, and driven along by the formidable Pankrantz/Fordham rhythm section, framing an earworm that’s as catchy as…let’s not go there….but it is damn catchy.
Hank definitely didn’t do it (musically) this way, but he’d certainly approve the attitude!
“A hundred shades of blue” takes things down with latin-tinged minor key melody that would go down well with the customers at Twin Peak’s Roadhouse Bang Bang bar (David Lynch, please take note).
“I’d rather be alone” is anthemic chugga-chugga 70’s NY pop song, but with added banjos! In my universe it is already in full rotation on the music video station in my head.
“You’d blame me for the rain” is a sultry surprise – Dave Leroy Biller’s bluesy country-soul guitar lines, frame a late-night melody that confidently takes Whitney into previously uncharted musical territory – and wins.
“Fell through the cracks” is in power ballad territory, with Whitney delivering an effortless lesson in how to match the emotion of a song to its delivery – no fake histrionics here.
“Don’t give up on me” is an understated shuffle where the vocal and melody are to the fore in an ages old tale where you “fight until you bleed” to get the one you love – very much a statement of intent for the listener too. “Better Man” takes things up again and actually makes me think of a country version of The Undertones – hand-clap drumbeats and soaring bass and guitar iced with a nonchalantly assured vocal will have you leaping around your room hoping the neighbours don’t see you (I didn’t just do that by the way. Honest).
“Thanks for trying” keeps the loud guitars plugged in and is another single finger to a man/The Man.
Credit must go to producer Paul Kolderie for the harmonious balancing of the various stringed styles throughout, but especially here, where Pettyesque twangy guitar crunch, mixes with but doesn’t clash with raucous steel-guitar;a good job well done, sir!
The album ends in quieter mode with the Summery harmonica led and gently percussive title track – a further ‘statement of intent’ from an album that contains several more; metaphorically, musically and literally too. “There’s lots of things that we ain’t got” sings Whitney “We’ve got something different of our own” – this album shows that “something different” is definitely “something special”.

Released 24th April 2020
Review by Nick Barber
https://whitneyrosemusic.com/

Ashley McBryde NEVER WILL

Ashley McBryde
Never Will
Warner Nashville

The Sound of a Girl Arriving At The Top.

I’ve been on tenterhooks for weeks waiting for this to arrive; only to find RMHQ is now so far down the pecking order that the Review ‘download’ was only sent to me on the actual ‘day of release’.
Whereas a CD of Girl Going Nowhere was sent unsolicited a month ahead of its release ‘asking for a review’…… that’s how far Ashley McBryde has travelled in such a short time.
I’ve now played the album three times and have a ‘feel’ for where Ashley is coming from….. I hope.
I had a chuckle the first time I heard opening track Hang In There Girl; as the guitar parts are more than a little bit Rolling Stonesesque and even the drums come from the Charlie Watts school of drumming. The song, or should I say story, is 100% Country and as sharply observed and punchy as I’d hoped it would be.
If there’s even a smidgen of doubt in your mind about how Ashley’s new found status in Nashville Town may effect her songs; then Track #2 One Night Standards will certainly put your mind at rest. This is Country Deluxe and shows a new found maturity and perhaps even confidence in her pitch; and boy oh boy do those guitars squeal like a Ford Mustang going around a 90 degree corner!
I suppose it isn’t easy for a songwriter to follow up a succesful album; but you wouldn’t know it here; as Ashley and her co-writers have constructed some Modern Country Classics …… and that’s a sentiment I don’t use lightly.
Possibly because of the A-Team songwriters she has sat down with; Ashley’s new songs really flow like a river in torrent; just as one ends and you think you have time to draw breath, you will find yourself hurled down another set of emotional rapids.
Already, I love the feisty break-up song First Thing I Reach For, with the pay-off chorus:
The first thing I reach for
Is the last thing I need
.”
Then there’s the astute Country Rocker, Never Will, showing a woman that’s not afraid to bare her soul to the masses; and I can only presume this will get a standing ovation when played in Concert Halls around the globe.
Ms McBryde even drops in big ole Power Ballad when you least expect it. BOOM! It’s certainly not meant as a criticism; but Jay Joyce’s Production on Voodoo Doll here is B.I.G compared to anything on Girl Going Nowhere and it works perfectly well as the ‘story’ is every bit as B.I.G as the sound that comes out of your speakers.
In many ways, this is probably the album Ashley has dreamed of recording all her life; her songs are perfectly matched to some magical musical backdrops, like on Sparrow and Velvet Red; but and this won’t come as a surprise to many fans. There are not just surprises around every corner but exciting ‘experiments’ that shake the Country formula to it’s dusty roots.
I’m thinking Martha Divine and Shut Up Sheila here; with both throwing caution to the wind with their musical interplay; but never ever not being pure damn Country songs. This girl is still prepared to take risks with her music…… and that’s a mighty good thing.
Speaking of taking risks, the finale; Styrofoam is a bit odd; but hey ….. what the Hell; I actually like it now; and maybe in concert it’s meant to be a drinking song?
That only leaves my Favourite Song; and after three plays it’s not been easy; as several tracks here could be ‘Game Changers’ for Ashley; but the song Mrs. Magpie and I have actually agreed on is …….. Stone. It’s a bit different to the rest of the album; gentle even, but don’t let that fool you; these biting lyrics will send a shiver down your spine in the way Loretta, Reba and even Bobbie Gentry used to release back in the day; and Ashley McBryde has created a timeless beauty in their images; but with contemporary 2020 razor sharp observations too. …….. just as you’d expect.
Well; even allowing for my initial excitement this morning; I think I can comfortably say that Ashley McBryde has now arrived at the pinnacle that her teenage peers sneered at her ever achieving.
I don’t give a stuff to whatever else is released from the major labels this year; I doubt there will be a more important or better Country Album than this one and it and Ashley herself, will scoop all of the Top Awards that the ACM, CMA and CMT has to offer.

Released April 3rd 2020
https://www.ashleymcbryde.com/



The Remedy Club TRUE HAND, TRUE HEART

The Remedy Club
TRUE HAND, TRUE HEART
Independent Self-Release

A Big Country Sound Straight Outta Nashville via Ireland.

Husband and wife, KJ McEvoy and Aileen Mythen aka The Remedy Club’s last album Lovers, Legends and Lost Causes not just took me by surprise in 2017; but my peers across the printed word world too; as no one had heard of them yet the album was filled to the brim with (Alt.) Country classics from start to finish.
Well, here we now have the ‘difficult Second Album’ and ……… #SpoilerAlert …… they don’t make it sound difficult at all; and have captured the Nashville ‘spirit’ that we all love and usually have to fantasise about with ease and grace.
I was filled with anticipation as I pressed ‘play’ for the first time and must have looked like a cartoon character as the Indie-Country Sweet Symphony bounced out of the office speakers. Nothing previously prepared me for the combination of McEvoy’s grungy guitar, Aileen’s honeyed voice and a Hammond organ swirling around like a Kilkenny mist …… phew; it’s a stunner.
I already knew the title track True Hand, True Heart, which is a veritable Twang Fest; and this one song alone suggests that recording this album in the heart of Nashville was money well spent.
While seamlessly flitting between Alt. and Country Remedy Club appear to be well on the way to creating their own distinctive ‘sound’; with the duo sharing vocal duties on songs that best suit their strengths; with Aileen taking lead as the couple stepping tentatively into some kind of George and Tammy territory on Let The Good Times Roll; which is not only a veritable Twang Fest; but features some liquid pedal-steel too.
Another thing, which needs to be commented on is the sequencing; something that can often make or break an album; and here it’s amazing; with KJ and Aileen sharing lead duties on the thoughtful I Got You which is followed by Aileen breaking your heart on the ballad Time Waits Won’t Wait For Me; then as you try to get your breath back they crank the tempo skywards with more Indie-Country on I Survived.
Now it’s Favourite Song time; phew… this is difficult; do I go for Aileen sounding sultry to KJ’s worldly wise on the deliciously timeless ballad Taste of Gold which closes the album; or the mildly raucous Fire and Gasoline (which I now actually know all the words to the chorus)?
Both are well worthy; but I’m going to choose ………. the darkly spirited Reclaim; with Aileen using her voice as nuclear device as the music builds and builds until you expect everything to boil over; but mercifully they all pull back at the brink; leaving you with a sweat on!
For a teeny tiny Country, Ireland has produced a staggering amount of World Famous and World Class musicians over the last 100 years or so; and it’s no great stretch of the imagination for Remedy Club to be thought of as Best in Class too.

Released March 27th 2020
https://theremedyclub.ie/home
https://theremedyclub.ie/album/1526535/true-hand-true-heart

Kailey Nicole KAILEY NICOLE

Kailey Nicole
Kailey Nicole
Self-Release

Silky Smooth Contemporary Country Straight Outta Vegas via California.

I’m not even out of January and I have already received albums for release as far away as June! So choosing which albums to write about is proving just as difficult as last year …… but the quest to bring you the very Best and most Interesting Roots Music continues unabated; with the aid of coffee and ginger biscuits.
Today it’s the new album/EP from Vegas-born, California-raised and now Nashville resident, Kailey Nicole. With that rich cultural background it’ll come as no surprise to find opening track Brand New Day is a smooth contemporary Country song in the mode of the UK’s Shires or the type of song that would be introduced to just about any of the female singers on the Nashville TV series; but before the ‘producers’ got their hands on it and added everything but the kitchen sink. By the way; Ms Nicole has a delightfully clear yet gutsy voice that rings every ounce of emotion out of her words not just here; but every other song too.
There’s an awful lot to like on this EP; especially for Mrs Magpie who has been spotted more than once tapping her feet to the vibrant beat of track #2 Diamonds and Coal and the heartfelt and introspective Change My Ways; which deserves a much closer listen on another day; as I’m sure it’s going to unravel like a ball of wool.
There may only be six songs; but that’s more than enough to capture the attention of a weary old hack like me; so what are they going to do to someone searching for the next Hit for a diamante encrusted Country Superstar?
With that in mind (sadly) the mega-bouncy Tennessee is a sure fire radio hit surely? Preferably for Kailey herself; but it will do her bank balance no harm at all if Faith or Shania were to pick it up.
Kailey Nicole’s burgeoning talent shines throughout; but there are two really special songs here that are squabbling to be Our Favourite; I’m particularly taken by the acute observations and fiery rock of Country Love Song; but Mrs M ‘advises’ me that the rather lovely ballad Save Me For a Rainy Day is by far the best thing here and a Hit in the making ….. and as you all; know she’s ‘never wrong’. (#Sigh)
Coincidentally I’ve been listening to this around the time of The Grammys; now I’m not saying Kailey Nicole deserves such an Award; but I much prefer the excitement of discovering a new talent like hers; than any of the hoary old big label acts who peaked in the last century have to offer in 2020; if they have anything to offer at all.

Released January 24th 2020
https://www.kaileynicole.com/