Eric Paslay: Eric Paslay
Eric Paslay's road to releasing his self-titled debut album certainly hasn't been an easy one. While he's found success as a songwriter of #1 hits like "Even If It Breaks Your Heart" and "Barefoot Blue Jean Night." But as much as those songs helped him as a songwriter, it has always been one of his passions to perform his own music and with the success of "Friday Night," Eric Paslay has finally been able to realize his dream. He has an album of music in stores.
That album, titled "Eric Paslay", showcases an artist who deserves to be placed on the same songwriting field as singer/songwriters like Rodney Crowell, John Hiatt, Jackson Browne and JD Souther with a little bit of The Band thrown in for good measure. He's that good. He's that classic sounding. Everything on "Eric Paslay", from the brilliant opener "Keep On Fallin'" to the self-penned closer "Deep As It Is Wide" showcases this. In between are songs like "Country Side Of Heaven" (written with Dylan Altman and Shane McAnally), "Less Than Whole" (written with Big Kenny of Big & Rich) and future hit "Song About A Girl," a song which is should be the anti-Bro Country anthem for 2014.
Eric Paslay is the kind of artist Modern Country music needs. There's nobody like him on the dial and he provides an elegant musical energy and artistry that simply needs to be on the dial. There isn't a bad song to be found on "Eric Paslay" and it truly is an early contender for the best Country Album of 2014.
And from tasteofcountry.com
Eric Paslay says he enjoys the anonymity that comes with being a new artist on a major tour. Each show is a chance for the "Friday Night" singer to make a fan's first impression a positive one.
With his debut album in stores and at iTunes Tuesday (Feb. 4), this newcomer is prepared to work even harder to build his fanbase. In this video premiering exclusively on Taste of Country, Paslay explains why he's glad God made him "foolish" enough to play country music for a living.
"I think this album has taught me to not be afraid to be me," the singer-songwriter says.
The 30-year-old Texan with the thick red beard enjoyed success as a songwriter prior to to 'Friday Night' hitting No. 1 on the country charts. 'Barefoot Blue Jean Night' by Jake Owen and 'Even If It Breaks Your Heart' by Eli Young Band are two of his successes.
"I've learned that a song gets heard if it's supposed to, and a hit's not a hit unless people hear it," he says. Paslay describes himself as a craftsman who enjoys the process of creating a song, or working with wood on a new bench. With more confidence than ever, he's in line for a big 2014.
"When you think might have hit a wall, just tear it down," he adds. It's tough to argue with that advice. Watch this full introduction to Eric Paslay, then sign up to win an autographed acoustic guitar.
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Jennifer Nettles: That Girl
Wipe away any thoughts you had about Jennifer Nettles's solo debut album That Girl being a continuation of what the talented vocalist does with Sugarland. It's not that. Instead, she's worked with iconic Grammy-winning producer Rick Rubin to create an album that in many ways shows off that fantastic set of pipes in some interesting and dynamic ways.
The album's opening tracks "Falling" and "Me Without You" showcase an artist with an introspective perspective on relationships. The self-penned "Falling" finds Nettles singing of the youthful moment you fall into love over some pretty classic melodic structures while the song gradually powers from hushed beginnings to powerful closing moments of the verses and chorus. "Me Without You" finds Jennifer soulfully singing about the freedom of being single after in a longtime relationship and the freedom that that can give a person. It's soft, it's elegant and Jennifer Nettles delivers one of 2014's best vocal performances on the track. This is the kind of song Grammy voters fall in love with.
"Moneyball" is a track that fans of Sugarland will love and something Country radio should be wanting to play. It has a playful melody (which can recall Elton John at times) and a strong lyrics about living life and having fun. The lyrics of the song kind of remind me of Mary Chapin Carpenter with clever verses and a chorus that just gets into your heart and soul. The title track and lead single "That Girl" suggested a slightly different song from Nettles with a "Dancing With The Stars" ready tango backing up a story about a woman who doesn't want to be the other woman who breaks up a relationship.
The majority oo That Girl is an ambitious collection of songs with songs like the powerful ballad "This Angel" feeling like an iconic classic Heart hit the first time one listens to the song (which was written with award-winning songwriter Mike Reid) and then there's the Richard Marx co-write "Know You Wanna Know," a playful romp which talks about the wheels of gossip while another Reid co-write, "Good Time To Cry" is apty titled, slice of neo-soul balladry.
Sara Bareilles ("Brave") is the co-writer of "This One's For You," A classic soul-stirring lyrical and vocal showcase while "Jealousy" is another interesting melodic slice of music. The record's closing song is a cover of Bob Seger's "Like A Rock" but if you expected it to be paint by numbers, you're sorely mistaken. It's not so different to make it feel like a completely different song but in the hands of Rubin (no stranger to re-working classic tunes into something stunning) and Nettles it becomes the kind of show-stopping song that suits her powerful vocals, something that works as a fitting closing toThat Girl, an album that my be short on mainstream Country hits but is long on charming vocal performances, stellar lyrics and some of the most timeless feeling new songs I may have heard in the past year or two.
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Jake Owen: Days of Gold
It’s always nice when an artist grows from project to project, but it can be a surprisingly fine line between a natural evolution and an abrupt change. Jake Owen seems to have masterfully managed the former with his newest album, Days of Gold. Jake doesn’t veer too far left of center as far as the lyrical content of the songs on the album. Themes of summertime fun, romance and adult beverages are as prevalent as they were on his previous release, Barefoot Blue Jean Night. But vocally, Jake has come into his own. Effortless and easy, his sound alone has become as comfortable as the voice of an old friend.
With recitations being the hot new thing in country music, Jake contributes his version in the kicky hit waiting to happen, “Beachin’,” but before you call it rap, think again. Jake sounds more like he’s retelling a story, covering every picturesque scene. It’s toe-tapping and giggle-worthy. But if another talky song isn’t your bag, check out “Tall Glass of Something,” which is equally as smile inducing.
One of the greatest disappointments of Barefoot Blue Jean Night was that “The Journey of Your Life” wasn’t released as a single. However, it’s reassuring that Jake hasn’t disregarded his commitment to a meaningful lyric with the inclusion of “What We Ain’t Got,” a lyric so painful and a melody so aching you may feel your own heart break.
A couple of back-to-back tracks midway through the project bear a sonic similarity to each other, but their topics are so different, you’ll want to keep listening.
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