Single Review: Edens Edge, “Swingin’ Door”

edens edge albumThis finely crafted gem of a country song was co-written by Country Universe staff favorite Ashley Monroe, and was released as a single in 2005 by Australian country artist Catherine Britt, whose own version is well worth seeking out.  The song was also a highlight of the charming Edens Edge self-titled debut album released last summer, and now looks like it might be one of the most enjoyable singles with a prayer of radio airplay in 2013.

The central metaphor strikes a perfect balance of simple accessibility and dead-on effectiveness.  Indeed, it’s hard to think of a more fitting way to illustrate a noncommittal relationship in which a man walks in and out of a woman’s life as he pleases.

Moreover, the single could hardly be a more apt showcase of the force of musical talent that is Edens Edge, with the dobro- and banjo-picking of Dean Berner and Cherrill Green featuring prominently throughout the song.  Lead vocalist Hannah Blaylock gives a subdued reading of the opening verse, and tackles the high notes in the chorus with clarity and style, even giving a bit of a growl as the song crescendos to a finish, but doing so without breaking character – demonstrating dynamic interpretive skills not commonly found in younger, newer artists.

Now two Top 30 hits into their career, only time will tell if Edens Edge is to enter the automatic add club at radio.  But if the country music industry were a meritocracy, “Swingin’ Door” would be a surefire hit – well-written, beautifully sung, tastefully produced, and actually country.

Written by Terry Clayton, Brett James, and Ashley Monroe

Grade:  A-

Listen:  Swingin’ Door


  1. I have been hoping they’d release this song as a single. This is my favorite track on their debut album so I am glad that it will be getting some airplay at country radio.

  2. Well written review as usual. I bought the Eden’s Edge album at Cracker Barrel (good food, lousy coffee) last summer. While I don’t question EE’s talent or potential, I was disappointed. None of the songs excited me, including this one.

    The song I’m currently playing over and over is “Bruises” by Train and Ashley Monroe. “Like a Rose” is also better than anything on EE’s cd.

  3. …well written und very well sung makes this song a more than listenable radio hit. rather clever too, to use the banjo in order to highlight the fairly wild west kind of analogies in the verses. there’s no way of stopping this one from climbing the charts right near to the top. amen.

    this “the band perry the other way round” combo scores higher in the hair dresser’s department than their reversed peers by two points. then again, probably the easiest two points in the whole music business.

  4. Ben, you’re right that Eden’s Edge is working with a good song here, but I think it’s them and their production crew that deserve all the credit on this one. Having heard this record, every other rendition of the song (including Britt’s) sounds flat and hollow.

    From the descending first five notes of the intro, this cover brims with confidence. The strings are twangy and foreboding—the musical embodiment of a Texas way of walking and a sexy way of talking. So, in the second verse, are Bremmer’s and Green’s harmonies. And with that buildup as her catapult, Blaylock asserts herself to devastating effect, conveying the last line of each verse and the chorus as a declaration rather than a mere narrative. When I first heard Amen, I wasn’t sure about her vocals; she doesn’t have a great voice. But, it turns out, she is a very good singer who plays to her strengths.

    l often hear critics slam productions for not allowing a song to speak for itself, and I often agree with them. But here, Eden’s Edge demonstrates the positive role that production can play, just as Pam Tillis did with Deep Down, which Kevin writes wonderfully about here:

    In any case, I think the net result is both a work of art and a blast. I also think Eden’s Edge is one of the best things going right now, and I can’t wait to hear what they come out with next.

  5. As much as I like “Amen” and (to a lesser extent) “Too Good to Be True,” this song always sounded like the album’s best bet for a single. I hope it’s big for them. Lot of potential in their sound; they just need to keep developing and work with Big Machine on differentiating themselves from The Band Perry.

    Seems like Blaylock’s got great control as a singer; I just think her tone is so sugar-sweet that it can be a little much in big doses, particularly since she spends a lot of time belting it full-out. I want them to explore some new “colors.” But they’re young yet, and the goods are there.

  6. Couldn’t agree more, Ben! This is easily an early contender for my Best of 2013 list, and I also concur with Peter’s point that the production ought to be credited for especially giving this life and dimension.

    I already get the impression that The Band Perry are currently aiming to differentiate themselves from, well, themselves with their decision to collaborate with an established rock-leaning producer, as well as the Huff-led electric guitar crunches on “Better Dig Two”. By default, this would give Eden’s Edge the distinction of the new acoustic-heavy trio of the roost, while The Henningsens are purporting themselves as the face of power pop in the genre.

  7. By the way, I enjoy “Bruises” too.

    I doubt Pat Monahan and Ashley Monroe recorded the vocals in the same booth together. Even so, it’s not often lately that you hear records that at the very least attempt a call-and-response effect in song, as though you are peeping on a basic conversation. The songwriting isn’t anything deep, but it is convincing and all in all, I help Ashley Monroe gets even more visibility through that release’s likely success.

  8. Love this song! I really enjoy their album and their first two singles, but I think this one is my favorite. The whole feel of this song is just perfect on every level for me.

  9. Yes, I was very disappointed to hear that. But I hope that she’s able to establish a good solo career down the road, and that Cherrill and Dean are able to continue on without her. There was just too much talent in that trio for it to end here.

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