On Nikita Karmen's debut EP, she succeeds in bringing a completely unique perspective into country music. Australian-born, this singer/songwriter writes with a sincerity and wit that is often hard to find in American country singers, but is found in Nikita Karmen's music. The first new offering after Karmen's debut single, "Out of the Park," Nikita Karmen is a pleasure to listen to. Continue reading for a track-by-track review of Karmen's new project.
You would think that a girl who was the runner-up on the biggest reality TV competition when she was 16 would have a perfect life. But Lauren Alaina has been very open about how her life is far from perfect. The first line of Alaina's much-anticipated sophomore record is "Daddy got sober, mama got his best friend," alluding to her parents' divorce. It took Alaina five years to get a second record out, and with this record, she tells her real, and sometimes sad story.
Like Brandy Clark's Big Day in a Small Town, Natalie Hemby's debut record is the story of a small town. This particular small town is Puxico, MO, Hemby's grandfather's hometown. Great country music has the ability to be incredibly specific, but with that specificity, relate to people around the world going through similar things. Most people aren't from Puxico. But we all can feel the messages in this music, and we all understand the emotions songwriter-turned artist Hemby conveys on this record.
The funny thing about country music right now is that when you find a new artist that seems completely devoted to making country music that sounds 100% country, it's a surprise. I'm not saying that the pop and soul influence on country music is bad. Rather, it is great a lot of the time and exposes a greater audience to country music. Even so, sometimes is seems like more traditional country music is a dying genre. But then someone like Carly Burruss comes along.
Morgan Leigh Garner and Courtney Dashe are the two women behind the new fiery duo, Hadley Park. This isn't your typical duo: the name 'Hadley Park' comes from the names of their two daughters, born four days apart. They're motivated by their children and encouraged by their husbands, and they've got a lot of life experience to draw from for their music. In their music, you won't hear songs about puppy love or growing up: you'll hear life lessons, stories of real life, and some fun, poppy jams for the heck of it.
Brooke Eden just released a new EP, titled Welcome to the Weekend. The songs cover all the different parts of the weekend, beginning on a Friday night with "Diamonds" and ending on "Sunday Mornin'". The EP is cleverly set up, and for the most part well done.
2016 seems like it's been the year of the songwriter, with many prominent songwriters in Nashville finally releasing music under their own name. Alyssa Bonagura is the most recent addition to the list. She completely wrote and co-wrote her record. It was recorded live at Petti Sound in Nashville, and was co-produced by Bonagura and Mark Petaccia. She also plays on the album, with the songs featuring her on acoustic guitar, piano, ukelele, and 5 other instruments.
If you loved British country duo Ward Thomas for their traditional country sound, you may be disappointed with their new record. On their debut, From Where We Stand, the duo told their stories in a delightfully country way. It was one of the most traditional mainstream country records of 2014, and gained Ward Thomas many fans. While hints of that old sound show up here and there on their sophomore effort, Cartwheels is more pop-country than anything Ward Thomas has done before.
"But here's the simple truth, do what you dare to do."
Lane sings this lyric on the opening track of her newest self-titled EP, titled "Lightning." This lyric is not only a good lesson for everyone, but it's also something that has become more and more apparent in Lane's music. Lane dares to experiment with different sounds, and different kinds of songs. She dares to be vulnerable and she dares to be positive, and she dares to be country as much as she dares to be pop. Lane is all about spreading sunshine, but on this EP, she's also all about spreading originality.
Organic is a word that used to be associated with country music. That older, more rootsy country music was often based on simple instruments: the mandolin, the acoustic guitar, the banjo, and the fiddle. Today, that word can no longer be associated with a lot of country music. Radio country, for the most part, is based on a pop beat, often teamed with computerized drums and synthesizers. But this new trio, Post Monroe is bringing that organic quality back into country music.