Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Song review: "Eighteen Inches" by Lauren Alaina

I'm going to start off this review by saying something that could very well make Lauren Alaina fans want to throw virtual tomatoes at me, so I'm going to ask that you all stay with me and keep on reading until the end. Because in order to fully appreciate this review, you should know where I'm coming from. I've always said I want to be honest and so I'm going to admit that they jury has been out on Lauren Alaina for me. I can't quite pinpoint what it is, but I just haven't known what to make of her.

It's not her voice. I've always thought she had a very good voice and it seems to get better all the time. I've watched various clips of her from the My Kinda Party tour, particularly of her singing "Don't You Want To Stay" with Jason Aldean and was impressed by how much she's grown as a singer. It seems like there's notes she's hitting a lot more easily and she seems more confident in her vocal ability. I love seeing growth, especially when it's someone I'm not sure about. It's a sign that they care about their craft and I respect that.

Is it her songs? Well I've pretty much only heard her singles, not so much the other cuts on her album. "Like My Mother Does" didn't do much for me though I thought it was still an okay song. I didn't care for "Georgia Peaches". That had less to do with Lauren and more to do with the fact that I never seem to like songs like that. I don't care who sings it; it could be my favorite singer in the world and I still wouldn't care for it. When I found out that she was releasing a new single I was very curious to see what I thought of it. I had a feeling that this song had the power to make me finally make up my mind on Lauren Alaina. 

Now in saying all that, my goal as a reviewer is to be as objective as possible. I try to judge a song on its own merit and do my best to leave my personal feelings of the artist out of it. Particularly when it's someone I'm not as sure about. I give every song a chance and that's something I wish all reviewers did. So I got this song and kept an open mind as I listened to it. And you know what? I like it. This is without question the best single she's released to date.

I'm going to wrap this up by giving my current thoughts of her as an artist, but first I want to go a little deeper and talk about why this song works for me.

Album review: Punching Bag by Josh Turner

I'll be getting to my review momentarily, but first I decided to take advantage of my ability to add pictures and include one of the man of the moment: Josh Turner, with his wife Jennifer, at the Grand Ole Opry in April. I unfortunately didn't get a lot of pictures of him, but if you'd like to see the ones I did get you can find them here on my Facebook page. Check them out and if you haven't already, I'd love for you to like the page while you're there.

Now. Punching Bag. This CD was released in the beginning of June and if there's one thing I can say about Josh Turner, it's that he's very consistent. This is his fifth studio album and is done in typical Josh  fashion. He knows who he is as an artist and stays true to that. Something I find admirable. You pretty much know what you're going to get with him: traditional country music with an emphasis on relationships and faith. All of the songs on this album fit very nicely with the rest of his songs. I'd imagine that any of the songs found on Punching Bag would fit in seamlessly with his live show. This is something I wish every single artist thought about because it's important. 

Punching Bag is a very solid album. I really like the production for the most part, save for a couple of things that I'll address when I look at each song separately. The playing on this is wonderful, it's very crisp and clean and musical. Josh always gives a great delivery on his songs and there's no exception here. This album has a very nice flow to it; every song is exactly where it should be. So yeah, a very good album that I'm sure anyone who likes Josh Turner will love. Or anyone who loves traditionally based country with a bit of a modern twist.

Now as far as each song individually, well, keep on reading.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Song review: "Better In A Black Dress" by Katie Armiger

You know, there are times when I can't help but get a feeling that an artist is about to reach a new level in their career. Their songs start doing better and better, more and more people start talking about them - there's a lot of signs that it's going to happen. And if you ask me, this is exactly where Katie Armiger is right now. Her last couple of singles have done pretty well and "Better In A Black Dress" is the fastest rising single in her career to date. That next level is right within her reach and this could very easily be the song to get her there. 

Yeah, I really like this song. Find out why after the cut.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Introducing: Steelshot

This post marks what I hope will be the beginning a new ongoing series. In this post I'm introducing you all to a group of guys who are based in Virginia who call themselves Steelshot. I've been listening to and reading about them a lot lately in preparation for this post and in doing so it made me think of all the bands and artists out there who are trying to make it in the music business. There's a ton of them out there and that's putting it mildly. I've noticed that I have several up and coming people following me on twitter, all at different levels in their careers. Some have music out and available for purchase, like the band I'm going to be talking about now. Others haven't gotten to that point yet. Some have been at it for years and others are just starting out. It's a hard road to choose, a tough dream to chase and it can be so hard for people to get themselves out there. And I've decided that I'd like to try and help these people out as much as possible.

So if you're reading this and you're trying to make it as an artist or know someone who is and would like me to write about you/them, let me know! Either through a comment on here, on twitter @countrymusicATK or you can email me at countrymusicatk@hotmail.com. This post should give you a pretty good idea what you can expect. I'd write a little bit about you and what you're about and then a review of anything you might want me to review. Just know that I will be completely honest about what I think of the music and any criticism that I might have is always intended to be constructive. Not to say that I would automatically have any, but I wanted to get that out there. Thank you to Steelshot for planting this idea in my head. 

Now that that's out of the way, let's talk about the men of the moment: Steelshot.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Song review: "Too Good To Be True" by Edens Edge

I've liked Edens Edge from the first time I saw their video for "Amen" and was so happy when it was announced that they'd be joining the Changed tour with Eli Young Band, Little Big Town and, of course, Rascal Flatts. This is such a huge opportunity for them and coming at such a good time for them what with the release of their new single, "Too Good To Be True" and their self-titled debut album, which just came out a couple of weeks ago. I got to meet them on the 23rd of June and have to say that in addition to being great musicians and singers, they are very nice and sweet people. I really don't have enough nice things to say about them and want to encourage anyone who gets a chance to see them, to do so. I will be reviewing their album as a whole, but for now I'm just going to focus on the new single.

Here we go.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Song review: "Pontoon" by Little Big Town

When I get to the end of the month I always promise myself that I'll try to write more posts in the following month than I did in the one that's ending. As you can tell from the monthly post numbers, I haven't succeeded in doing that. I was pretty consistent from February through May and then June happened. I'm not going to get into specifics, but I will say that I just didn't feel up to writing much for a few different reasons. Hence the lack of updates. But as you can clearly see, I'm back.

That's a good thing since there's a lot to write about. Song reviews for new songs by Edens Edge, Randy Houser, Parmalee, Andy Gibson, Katie Armiger and Kip Moore to name a few. Albums reviews of Alan Jackson, Josh Turner, Edens Edge and Jana Kramer. A few other kinds of blogs about random things and I'll be introducing you all to a band of guys was are based in Virginia and call themselves Steelshot. All I'll say about them for now is that I don't believe I've ever heard anything quite like them before and I mean that as a compliment. So yeah, I have a lot to write about in the coming month or so and will be adding more to that list all the time.

But for now, it's time to talk about what is shaping up to be one of the biggest hits of the summer and may very well be the fastest rising single of Little Big Town's entire career. So let's get to it...