Single Review: Danielle Bradbery, “The Heart of Dixie”

Danielle-Bradbery-The-Heart-of-DixieThe debut single from The Voice Season 4 winner Danielle Bradbery has one of best productions you’re likely to hear on terrestrial country radio, heavy on the sweet sounds of fiddle and mandolin.  “The Heart of Dixie” also boasts an effective melody which rises and dips in a manner most fitting for a story about a woman leaving an unsatisfying life and finding newfound freedom on the open road.  And while the interpretive abilities of an artist still in her teens are often limited (see early LeAnn Rimes as an example), Bradbery at least sounds genuinely engaged in the story she’s telling.

That said, it’s hard not to wish that the story itself were a bit more compelling.  The protagonist “Dixie” doesn’t feel real as a character, and it doesn’t help that she’s named Dixie merely for the sake of a titular pun.  You can tell a bit too easily that she’s the brainchild of three hired-gun Nashville songwriters, and her story begs to be fleshed out with greater dimension and detail.  It’s the kind of story that’s definitely worth telling, but also one that’s been told better and more interestingly in the past.

The single has enough strong points to generate interest in the artist and her future efforts, but as it is, we’re left with a single that is an enjoyable listen, but uninspiring overall.

Written by Brett James, Caitlyn Smith and Troy Verges

Grade:  B-


  1. You’re right that it’s not a great song, but it’s not horrible, and that puts it well in the upper echelons of what’s on country radio these days.

    It makes me sad to write that.

  2. At least she sounds much better and is definitely more country than Cassadee Pope debut single. Wasting All These Tears is NOT Country at all. And it has come to my attention Cassadee can’t sing live for the sake of her life. I hate it when she does that hands go up in the air everytime she tries or strain her voice to reach a high note. Eww

  3. I like this song. It’s sweet and just perfectly fits Danielle’s voice and youth. But I agree, the song lyrics would have been better. I think Danielle’s team is trying to replicate Carrie’s earlier career – from winning a singing competition to having a storytelling ballad as a debut hit. I hope Danielle does well in the long run.

    Off topic, I am glad that you guys at CU have been back to posting more single and album reviews. I was worried a few weeks back when there were not enough new things on this sites. Of the many country music websites, this is actually the one I enjoy the most because of your balanced, well-written, and at times witty reviews. Kudos to everyone!

  4. Bradbery just does a poor job with this song, in my opinion. It’s a song with a story and she has absolutely no connection to the lyrics. She sings it pretty, but, like Carrie Underwood in the early stages of her career, it’s like listening to a piece of wood carry a tune. No emotion, no heart, no compelling attraction.

  5. We appreciate that, Louie and Markus! Since blogging about country music is our side hobby, there are unfortunately times when life gets in the way of it, but I’m just as thrilled as you are at the recent level of activity on the site. And there’s still more to come. :)

  6. Although this isn’t a perfect song, I think it’s a great start for Danielle Bradbery. The production is definitely radio friendly and sounds refreshingly country. I’m looking forward to see what else is on her debut album, especially if the production is like this. Danielle’s voice is pretty enough and as she gets older, I think she’ll gain better interpretive skills. Goodness knows that country radio needs more females; I’m fully in support of adding this to radio rotation!

  7. This song is about as bland and cute as the artist. Having a sixteen year old takes away all the credibility of the story. I still can’t believe this girl won a vocal competition. Her voice is weak, thin, tiny, and downright flat. Don’t even get me started on her performance ability; I should watch videos if her performing when I can’t sleep as the girl is about as lively as an oak tree. Holly tucker has a huge, fantastic set of pipes that gave me chills every Monday. She could out sing and out perform Danielle every day of the week. Holly should have won that thing hands down but people were too hypnotized by cute little Danielle to even listen to anybody else. The only reason I was the slightest bit glad she won I’d because that meant the swon brothers didn’t win. One of them can’t even sing, and all they are is a Florida Georgia line wannabe, and trust me, I despise Florida Georgia line.

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