Although there is already a long list of great albums that have been released this year, Southern Gravity, Kristian Bush’s first solo album apart from Sugarland, just may end up being the most pleasant surprise of 2015.
First of all, lets address some of the elephants in the room. Frankly, the biggest surprise of the album is the discovery that Kristian Bush can actually sing. Without the long shadow of the Powerhouse Jennifer Nettles, Bush has a chance to find his literal and figurative voice and it’s a good one.
Additionally, whether it was deserved or not, Bush had developed the reputation of being the intense, mysterious half of Sugarland. So, another surprise is that the album is relaxed and accessible and avoids drowning in over thinking or overproduction. With that said, the final surprise is that the album is more country than we had heard from Sugarland in quite some time.
Does country radio still have room for a song about drinkin' and cheatin'? How about one sung by a female artist?
Enter Arista newcomer Kristen Kelly, currently making waves at radio with her debut single “Ex-Old Man,” which she co-wrote along with nineties star Paul Overstreet. The premise is simple. Husband cheats on her with her best friend. She calls it quits with her man, and hits the bar, assuring us in no uncertain terms that “There's a damn good reason for this drink in my hand.” The lyric and performance are brash and bitter with an undercurrent of vulnerability as Kelly fumes over the double betrayal. (“I was cryin' on her shoulder, he was cheatin' on me… She never let on that it was her stealin' his love”)
In a country radio environment where there are far too many bells and whistles, it's a refreshing change of pace to hear a new artist taking a back-to-basics approach – revisiting a classic yet often ignored country music theme, with a simple drum and acoustic guitar-driven arrangement that actually makes the song feel like country music (Overstreet and Tony Brown take producer's credit). At the same time, the jaunty acoustic chords and hand claps are subtly infectious, setting the toe tapping in short order.
It's encouraging to see that this single seems to be getting some attention at radio. If Kelly's lyrical material remains strong, she along with fellow rising talent Jana Kramer could potentially act as an effective counterbalance toward the polished, hook-heavy country-pop of Swift and Underwood and company, imbuing some welcome variety into country radio's pool of female talent.
A perfect time capsule of the boom times, as Jackson wryly notes all of those genre-hoppers who saw dollar signs in the growing country music scene. Funny how they didn’t arrive on radio until a decade later. – Kevin Coyne
I Want to Be Loved Like That Shenandoah
1993 | Peak: #3
Sometimes the deepest understanding of love comes from what you see around you. The narrator in this song won’t settle for anything less than the unwavering love he’s witnessed in his life, and his examples are stunning in the way they slice straight to the core of love, to the bond that can’t be broken by the physical world. This is one of the purest tributes to love I’ve ever heard. – Tara Seetharam Continue reading →
As children, it’s common to think that we’ll never be like our parents. In some cases, we think we’ll never do the annoying or strange things that our parents did, as Brad Paisley sang about in “Yes You Will”, and there are other times when we think that we’ll never be as smart or as good as our parents. If we’re lucky, there comes a day when we see our parents in ourselves and can either eradicate certain behaviors and traits or embrace them, depending on the similarities we see.
In Keith Urban’s, “Song for Dad”, he celebrates the similarities that he realizes exist between him and his dad. Likewise, he hopes that he becomes more like his dad as other circumstances arise, particularly when he himself becomes a father. In a similar sentiment to Paul Overstreet’s “Seeing My Father in Me”, Urban embraces being like his father and is grateful for the legacy.
In celebration of Father’s Day, Amazon is offering “Song for Dad” as their Free Song of the Day. So, let us know your favorite song about Dad and then head over to Amazon and grab this touching tribute to dads for free.