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

Weekly Playlist #27: bluegrass

weekly playlist #27: bluegrass

 

Well, you’ve chosen again, and you’ve chosen bluegrass for our 27th weekly playlist. Can you believe we’ve had 27 of these now? I certainly can’t!

 

Bluegrass is often considered something of an acquired taste.  As a genre of roots music, it developed in the 1940s in the Appalachian region of the USA. It has roots in traditional English, Scottish and Irish ballads and dance tunes, and in traditional African-American blues and jazz.  The genre typically features string instruments and emphasizes the off-beat.

 

It’s no secret that among other things, I’m a sucker for some traditional music, so I love a bit of Bluegrass. I talked about it a little when I reviewed Corn Nut Creek’s EP, so it’s only fitting that they should be a highlight of this playlist. This is the lone instrumental on the duo’s EP, and it’s a dance-around-the-kitchen interlude. I dare you not to crack a smile when you listen.

 

Highlight #2 – no surprises, again – is I’ll Fly Away.  This is from the soundtrack to O Brother Where Art Thou which is a soundtrack I think I’ve loved for my whole life – but the harmonies in this song are absolutely exquisite.  They’re perfectly stacked to offer something new on each and every listen, even after two decades of listening on heavy rotation.

 

Finally – and oh boy, it was hard to limit myself to just three – Sourwood Mountain takes the third highlight spot. This is fun. I chose this in part because it was such a joy to hear something so niche on Nashville (the TV show – of course!) – but because it highlights Rhiannon Giddens and her immeasurable talent. Of all the fantastic musicians I discovered through the series, Giddens has to be one of my favourites.

 

Find the full playlist here!

 

One more playlist down! This might be a little bit divisive – but what do YOU think? I love to hear from you, so get in touch and let me know what your highlights are! Don’t forget, you can always suggest your own playlist themes here.

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

REVIEW – Louise Parker – Just Friends

Louise Parker - Just Friends

Just Friends is the new single from Louise Parker and it comes hot on the heels of her two biggest singles to date. Only ‘The Chicks’ stopped Louise from hitting the top of the charts with Lie To Me, which quickly followed an upbeat collaboration with Joey Clarkson, which hit the top 5 of the UK iTunes Country Chart.

 

Of the song, Parker notes that it plays to her ‘cheeky side’. It tells the story of 2am text messages and the realisation that you’ve let someone go far too soon – and that you don’t want to be ‘just friends’.  Immediately, this is a different side of Parker. Her previous two releases have shown both her playful side and her raw, emotional side.  Now, she’s sharing her country diva side. This is flirty, fun and all country – from the twang in the vocal to the interplay between piano and strings. Parker’s passion for her music is evident throughout – you don’t have to listen too hard to hear her smile as she sings. Parker recorded the song after much persuasion from her devoted fanbase, having been performing it live across the world since 2018.

 

JUST FRIENDS is out on 9th October 2020. Pre-save it here. Follow Louise on TwitterInstagram and Facebook; stream her music on Spotify.

Continue Reading

REVIEW – Joey Clarkson + Two Ways Home – One More For The Road

Joey Clarkson & Two Ways Home - One More For The Road

Joey Clarkson and folk/rock duo Two Ways Home have announced the launch of their new single One More For The Road.  In Clarkson’s second major collaboration of the year, she joins forces not only with her husband but with Anglo-Austrian duo Two Ways Home to produce a pandemic-inspired anthem. With a focus on good times ahead, this lockdown-penned track stands apart from its class with its optimism.

 

One More For The Road has so much to shout about.  Two Ways Home’s signature luscious harmonies sit front and centre and draw you in. The harmonies are underpinned by a rich, 90s rock-infused guitar that drives this melody – and drives it hard.  All the while, Clarkson’s angelic vocal lifts the melody and raises it from bop to anthem, and I for one cannot wait to roll down the windows and blast this as loud as the stereo will go.

 

ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD will be available to download and stream from 9th October 2020. You can pre-save it here. Follow Joey on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & YouTube. Follow Two Ways Home on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & YouTube.

Continue Reading

Weekly Playlist #26: when all hope is gone

weekly playlist #26: when all hope is gone

 

Our 26th weekly playlist marks a whole six months of music sharing – and thus, a whole six months of Three Chords. It’s been a whirlwind, and truly a pleasure. For this milestone playlist, we have something very special – it’s sponsored by #GratefulGang.  #GratefulGang is an initiative set up by our very own Becky Lawrence as a movement to practice the act of gratitude and to normalise conversations about mental health. The playlist is called when all hope is gone and it’s for those days when you just need a reminder of the light at the end of the tunnel.

 

So, without further ado, let’s talk music. I’ve had this playlist in some form or another for years. I could probably list them all as highlights! But since we have just three highlight spots, it’s time to get serious.

 

Lemon Drop has been on the playlist from the start, so it seems only fair that it should be a highlight. In fact, it was the inspiration for the whole collection.  There’s just something about it – the whistle, the harmonies, the heartwarming message of ‘there are better days ahead’ – some days, it’s just what you need to get by.

 

My second highlight is If You’re Going Through Hell and this is a song I knew long before I knew that I knew it. It took me a little while to track it down, but it does exactly what it says on the tin – just keep going.  It’s the perfect encouragement for those darker days.

 

Finally, If You Need Someone To Love You might seem like a strange choice for this collection but as soon as I heard it, I knew it would be perfect. It’s upbeat and supportive, and whether platonic or otherwise, someone to love us is just what the doctor ordered.

 

Find the full playlist here.

 

Six months of weekly playlists in the books – what do you think? What do you listen to when you need a mental pick-me-up? What are your highlights from my playlist this week? I always love to hear from you, so get in touch and let me know your thoughts! Don’t forget, you can always suggest your own playlist themes here!

Continue Reading

REVIEW – Bob Fitzgerald & Charlotte Young – Taking My Heart Away

Bob Fitzgerald and Charlotte Young are two of the most exciting new artists of 2020 – and they’ve teamed up to bring us an upbeat, country-rock duet.  Taking My Heart Away is their way of saying THANK YOU to their fans for their support during what has been a whirlwind of a debut year.

 

Penned by Fitzgerald and produced in his infamous shed, Taking My Heart Away is a guitar-driven, feel-good anthem. It tells the story of a couple separated but hell-bent on returning to one another.  The desire and desperation of the story translates to the frenetic pace of the music.  Both Fitzgerald and Young have distinctive, powerhouse vocals but neither is overpowered here – in fact, their voices complement one another beautifully.

 

 

Charlotte and Bob – both of whom had debut releases during the lockdown period earlier this year – are offering Taking My Heart Away free of charge to thank fans for their support.  As such, it won’t be purchasable but will be available on all major streaming platforms from 2nd October 2020 and can be pre-saved here.

 

Follow Charlotte on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. Follow Bob on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

Continue Reading