REVIEW – The Highwaywomen – The Highway

The Highway Women - The Highway

All-female country blend band The Highway Women – comprised of accomplished solo artists Drew Haley, Kristen Kae, Jess Paige, and Bailey James – are gearing up for their latest adventure with the upcoming single The Highway, available on all digital and streaming platforms from October 30th.

The Highway Women have effortlessly blended 1990s girl power country with more modern trends to create something truly special. The track opens with a pair of electric guitar lines and a solo vocalist with stylings reminiscent of Martina McBride. By the time the driving chorus kicks in, airy harmonies have brought a contemporary twist to this triumphant anthem. The song is a celebration of independence and empowerment – very on-brand for both The Highway Women and 2020. Look out world, here (they) come. This is an emphatic soundtrack for the supergroup and speaks of only bigger things to come.

 

The single will act as the theme song for the Be A Highway Woman program, a new initiative with Heart Songs Records announced by Forbes last month. The group invited Be a Highway Women members Abby Reign, Brooke Barry, Lola Menthol and Bonnie Dymond to be part of the new single. Proceeds from the single will go towards funding a scholarship for a high school senior who is pursuing a career in music. The scholarship will be awarded by the program in 2021.

 

THE HIGHWAY drops on 30th October and will be available on all major platforms worldwide.  Pre-save it here. Follow The Highway Women on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Continue Reading

REVIEW – Halle Kearns – Shoes To Fill

Halle Kearns - Shoes To Fill

Following two wildly successful releases, Missouri-born Nashvillian Halle Kearns is set to slow things down with a delicate, heartfelt ballad.  Shoes To Fill, released on 23rd October 2020, is the much-anticipated third single from Kearns, and she describes it as her favourite so far.

 

Shoes to Fill shows us yet another facet of Kearns’ artistry. The track is a heartfelt and moving tribute to Kearns’ beloved father and something of a warning to any potential suiters – the bar has been set high. Following two upbeat, contemporary-country releases, this is a nice change of pace. It’s a piano-led, traditional-leaning ballad with Kearns’ vocal prowess in fine form, easily and sweetly singing of her adoration for her father. Kearns notes “it’s an incredibly special song to me, and my favourite I’ve written so far because it’s so authentic and true to my story. My dad is my best friend, and I’m beyond excited to have my listeners hear about what a stand-up guy he is.”

 

 

Halle Kearns recently featured in Missouri local newspaper ‘The Columbia Daily Tribune’, following the success of her first two singles.  She will appear in a DC Brown writers round (Facebook) on 25th October and in an interview with Kellie on bringcountry2uk (Instagram) on 7th November.

SHOES TO FILL is released on 23rd October on all major platforms. Pre-save it here. Follow Halle on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

Continue Reading

REVIEW – Adele & Andy – Took His Love Away

Adele & Andy - Took His Love Away

 

Staffordshire-based duo Adele & Andy release Took His Love Away on 30th October 2020. The single is inspired by a friend and the loss of his wife. With the song, the duo hope to offer comfort and hope to those struggling with loss.

 

Took His Love Away opens with Adele’s angelic voice and a rich, mournful guitar.  Adele’s voice is truly something special, and she doesn’t hold back here. Singing live, she can stop you in your tracks with her crystal clear tone. That translates well to this recording, as she harmonises with herself throughout.  Andy’s musicianship is subtly beautiful, full of mournful flourishes and sweet stabs.

 

 

Adele & Andy are an award-winning modern country duo based in Staffordshire, UK.  Between Adele’s rich, effortless vocals and Andy’s masterful guitar playing, they have received universal appeal for their real life-inspired lyrics and fresh storytelling.  Their latest single ‘Say It Out Loud’ peaked at #27 in the UK Country iTunes Chart and has had radio support in over 50 countries. 

 

 

TOOK HIS LOVE AWAY is available for pre-order here. Follow Adele & Andy on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

Continue Reading

REVIEW – The Southern Gothic – Past Midnight

the Southern Gothic - Past Midnight

 

Nashville band The Southern Gothic is set to release Past Midnight on 23rd October.  The band’s previous albums blurred the lines between country and alternative rock before a long hiatus. During the band’s downtime, frontman Connor Christian dug deep into his musical roots, moving past his heavy reliance on country sounds and bringing back nods to the rock and pop songs that shaped him as a young man and music fan.

 

Past Midnight is a euphoric ode to living in the moment crossing tomorrow’s bridge when it comes.  The energy behind this late-night summer soundtrack is lively and energised.  The interplay between the piano, guitar and effortless storytelling paints a picture of a hundred colours, whilst the counter-melody offers a unique and unexpected spirit. Christian has laughed off the idea that he can only enjoy one genre, and further explains his distaste of genre arbiters, noting “I love music and I want to be able to explore – wherever that takes me.” His wide-ranging influences are front and centre in this track, pushing the boundaries of Americana further than ever before.

 

Past Midnight was co-written and produced with Grammy-nominated Keith Hetrick (Pitbull/Charlie Wilson/Got7).

 

PAST MIDNIGHT is set for release on all major platforms on 23rd October 2020. Pre-save it here. Follow Southern Gothic on Facebook, Instagram or visit their website.

 

Continue Reading

REVIEW – Motel Sundown – Before Midnight

Motel Sundown - Before Midnight

Liverpool-based trio Motel Sundown released their debut single to critical acclaim last year, and followed it with another well-received release earlier this year. Both singles garnered local radio support with airplay from BBC Radio Ulster and Merseyside, as well as BCMA Radio.  They’re back with a new release for autumn, having announced Before Midnight to release on 23rd October.

 

The track opens with church bells, before a discordant guitar brings us into an unexpected – but certainly not unwelcome – male lead vocal. The distinctive guitar drips with reverb and nostalgia – the vintage styling is reminiscent of the trio’s previous release.  The harmonies from Karen and Naomi steal the show easily.  Motel Sundown have a knack for taking today’s trends and wrapping them in their own unique brand of traditional.

 

Since forming in 2018 the band have performed at Melodica Festival (Reykjavik), Country on the Coast (Portsmouth), hosted The Grand Opry Sessions (Liverpool), and supported American Singer/Songwriter Alice Walker at the renowned Grateful Fred Sessions (Southport). With rich, earthy harmonies and influence from Dolly Parton, Fleetwood Mac and Neil Young, their music is a unique blend of Americana, Country and Folk Rock.

 

You can catch Motel Sundown live at The Rigger in Stoke on Trent on 16th October.  BEFORE MIDNIGHT is available to stream and download from 23rd October, along with the trio’s debut music video. Pre save here (or here for Amazon.com). Follow Motel Sundown on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Continue Reading

REVIEW – Teagan Stewart – Taste of My Heartbreak EP

Teagan Stewart - Taste of My Heartbreak EP

 

This review has been a long time in the making. Last month, we featured Teagan as an interviewee and in our #whatmadeyoucountry series and now I’m so excited to finally share a review of her EP, Taste Of My Heartbreak.  Teagan explains the backstory of this intensely personal project:

 

 I designed it to mimic the emotional arc of my breakup. You begin with the title track (out now), where the initial shock of the break up makes you feel all kinds of things, like edgy, playful, petty, and a little angry. Then you move through all these different stages – denial, loneliness, newfound freedom, recklessness, etc.

 

The six-song collection features four songs written solely by Stewart. It opens with the title track which was released as the lead single back in August. It’s gorgeous – it perfectly showcases Teagan’s bluesy, powerhouse vocals, with shades of Colbie Caillat and Gone West. It gives a taste not only of Stewart’s heartbreak but of a unique, almost beachy vibe that carries through the whole EP. I’ve had it on repeat ever since it landed in my inbox.

 

Date A Musician is next, and this one opens with a sultry, sexy guitar to double down on the blues-country influence. The guitar drives this song, lazy and loud – the soundscape feels almost uncomfortably hot – like a day that’s so hot it’s suffocating.

 

After a bluesy start, Sad Songs is a ballad with some lovely traditional folk-country flourishes.  It shows us a different side to Stewart – the delicate touch in her vocals and the depth of emotion she can pack into each word.

 

Your Personality Sucks is a return to a more upbeat sound – and this is quintessential country.  Everything about it is stunningly traditional in sound, and once again Stewart proves she’s no shy, retiring wallflower as she calls out the cause of her heartbreak.

 

Homebody is the penultimate track. It maintains the traditional country edge of the previous song and fuses it with a little blues and a whole lot of rock and roll. This is Stewart’s proud-to-be-single festival anthem.

 

The EP closes with Good Intentions, which opens with an emotive vocal performance and a simple piano, before picking up strings.  This is the heartbreaker of the collection – through a masterful vocal performance, all of Stewart’s pain hits hard in this one song.

 

This is a stunningly cohesive heartbreak collection. From the painful ballads to the I’m over you showstoppers, there’s nothing I wouldn’t play on repeat. Each track brings something new, sonically speaking, but listen to the EP as a whole and it’s a journey. The EP was recorded in early 2020 at Hey World Productions with Sean Rogers in Nashville, TN. Rogers has worked extensively with both upcoming and established artists, including Chase Matthew, Dylan Wolfe,  Eric Church and Dierks Bentley.

 

With touring plans on hold due to COVID-19, Stewart hosted a weekly live stream concert for two months and logged more than 15 hours of live music content with a loyal audience.

 

TASTE OF MY HEARTBREAK is available to stream and download from 23rd October. Pre-save the EP here. Follow Teagan on FacebookTwitter & Instagram, or visit her website.

 

Continue Reading

REVIEW – Brenna Bone – What Do I Do Now?

Brenna Bone - What Do I Do Now?

 

October 16th sees the release of What Do I Do Now? by Pennsylvanian Brenna Bone. Born and raised in Erie, PA, Bone has always had a love for music, songwriting, and performing. In 2014, she began playing shows around her hometown, stunning bargoers and fellow musicians alike as one of the youngest original artists in town. She is a self-taught musician, and two in 2016, she made the move to Nashville, TN. Since then, she has continued to narrate her journey through life, through songwriting.

 

What Do I Do Now? opens with a guitar and some distant percussion to support Bone’s light and lilting vocal. There’s an element of Cassadee Pope’s Hey Monday days to the track; the interplay between strong, high vocal and rich guitar is hard, powerful and emotive. This is a song Bone admits is incredibly special, inspired by the loss of a close friend. Through the verses, we hear the story of life without a loved one. You can hear the pain packed into the chorus as Bone sings – or perhaps cries – the titular phrase over and over. It’s a stunning take on the heartbreak ballad and one that will surely resonate with anyone who has felt that loss.

 

WHAT DO I DO NOW? is released on 16th October. Pre-save it here. Follow Brenna on Instagram and Facebook.

Continue Reading

REVIEW – Kieran Lancini – I Need You

Kieran Lancini - I Need You

 

Kieran Lancini is a UK based country singer-songwriter from North Queensland, Australia. Success came early on for Kieran after being named Star Maker Winner at the 2002 Tamworth Country Music Festival. Lancini always had the urge to travel and at 26 he embarked on a trip to the UK where he planned to stay for 6 months. As fate had it, he missed his return flight and ended up staying.

 

The eagerly anticipated new single I Need You was co-written with Nashville songwriter Phil Barton, who has also written with and for artists including Lee Brice, Dustin Lynch and Sara Evans. 

 

This is the love song to end all love songs – and it features some stunning musicianship.  The interplay between guitar and piano is dreamy. The guitar has a very traditional country vibe, which pairs well with the fairytale piano to produce an ethereal soundscape. Lancini’s voice is rich beyond all my wildest dreams and the depth of his emotion is evident in every word. His harmonies with the female backing vocal add to the celestial feel of this song.

 

 

I NEED YOU is available to pre-order and pre-save from Friday 9th October and will be available to stream and download from 23rd October. Follow Kieran on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram

Continue Reading

REVIEW – Matt Stell – Better Than That EP

Matt Stell - Better Than That EP

 

 

Arkansas native Matt Stell is having a fantastic 2020.  With over 340 million cumulative streams across his catalog to date, and a top 10 (and climbing) single in Everywhere But On, the platinum-selling artist is on top of the world. He performed his first headline tour, hosted a wildly successful 8-week Instagram live series, performed the national anthem at a NASCAR Cup Series race and became the first artist to receive a virtual plaque from the RIAA to commemorate his platinum debut single, Prayed For You.

 

And as if that wasn’t enough – he’s now preparing to release his next EP, Better Than That. Co-produced by Stell with Ash Bowers, the 8-track collection features 5 self-penned songs, including Prayed For You and Everywhere But On.  The EP also includes the recently released If I Was A Bar, and its innovative music video filmed during quarantine, where Matt played all 13 characters.

 

This EP is longer than most at 8 songs, but it doesn’t feel like it. It’s a perfectly curated collection and when it’s over, it’s over too soon. It’s a perfect showcase for Stell’s diverse and versatile talent – vocally, musically and lyrically.  Everywhere But On is the opener, and it’s a song I can’t get enough of. Stell’s voice is as smooth as silk on this country ballad.

 

If I Was A Bar is up next. Between this and the title track (fourth on the tracklisting), we see Stell’s smart lyrics really shine. Both of these songs are an upbeat good time, with the former taking cues from the country-rock subgenre and the latter being a little more traditional in its composition. I Love You Too (track 5) is another smart track, playfully explaining the difference between ‘I love you’ and ‘I love you too’.

 

Prayed For You is the third song, and as debut singles go, this one certainly went – platinum, that is.  This song is a standout in that it’s not obviously reflective of a breakup – but it’s a song that could fit anywhere within a relationship timeline, such is the intelligence of Stell’s writing.

 

The final three tracks are a little moodier; Sadie (track 6) is a reflection on a past relationship that ended – but Stell sings of how he’d still go to bat for his former flame regardless of their history.  Sadie opens up a darker, rockier soundscape that allows Stell’s powerful vocals to shine.

 

Chase It Down and Look At Me Now close the collection. The former is another rock-infused anthem with a great pace for driving. The guitars are heavier than in the first handful of songs and the percussion is more persistent and insistent.  Look At Me Now is a little more mellow to end the EP, but the guitars are just as full and layered. It’s a stunning reflection on watching his bride walk down the aisle with some true, traditional guitar work woven throughout.

 

On the whole, this is a fantastically diverse-yet-cohesive collection of songs. They say I wish you were mine or I miss you – or at least, I still love you and I miss what we had when I had you.

 

In 2019, Matt’s US multi-week No. 1 Platinum-certified hit, “Prayed For You” made his the ONLY debut single to top the Billboard Country Airplay chart that year (for two consecutive weeks), and also notching the top spot in Country Aircheck/Mediabase. The highly acclaimed smash, written by Stell with Ash Bowers and Allison Veltz Cruz, has accumulated more than 270 million streams worldwide.

 

 

BETTER THAN THAT is available to stream and download on all major platforms from 16th October 2020. Pre-save the EP here. Visit Matt’s website or follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Continue Reading

REVIEW – Becky Lawrence – Maple State

Becky Lawrence - Maple State

 

Following the success of her first solo-written single You Say, which rocketed to number one on the day of release, Becky Lawrence is set to release Maple State on Canadian Thanksgiving. The track pays tribute to Becky’s time spent in Calgary (Mohkínstsis), Canada, and is her love letter to the lakes and mountains. Canada is the only place in the world, other than the Isle of Man, where I feel at home,” Lawrence says about the song. We’ve chosen to release on Canadian Thanksgiving, because this song is filled with thanks for the experiences I enjoyed, and memories I made when in Canada.”

 

This is Becky’s second collaboration with songwriter Hugh Webber, who has worked with Platinum songwriters during his time with the Songwriting Academy in London. 

 

If you thought I was biased when I reviewed You Say, think again. Now that Becky is officially a Three Chords-managed artist, and this is our first release as a partnership, the bias is undeniable.  Regardless, this is her best single yet.  After a handful of softer, ballad-esque releases, it’s about time we heard something a little more upbeat from the Lawrence camp – and this is exactly what we’ve been after. Maple State is bright, nostalgic and fun.  The guitars are perfectly placed to build and highlight Becky’s masterful vocals, and the banjo adds a little extra fun. It’s perfectly sing-along-able, and just about everything you could want from a road trip song!

 

MAPLE STATE is released on 12th October 2020. Pre-save it here (don’t forget to screenshot your save and send it to Becky to enter into the giveaway!). Follow Becky on TwitterInstagram and Facebook,

Continue Reading
1 2 3 7