It’s been a busy couple of weeks for new music releases. We have selected the pick of a very large bunch:
SHANE GAMBLE – ‘AMERICAN HEART’
Looking very much like a young Bruce Springsteen on the cover of his new album, Maryland native Shane Gamble has produced a very solid and enjoyable second album.
The follow up to his 2013 ‘Behind The Blue’ album is a blend of country, rock , pop and Americana. He has been working with Nashville heavy-hitters and has spent the last couple of years writing and honing these 12 songs.
‘Summertime Dream’ is the first to be released to radio and it’s a tune that will surely appeal to the legion of country fans who have taken the young generation of pop infused beats to their hearts.
Other tracks very worthy of a mention include the opener ‘Beautiful Work’ that is a foot-tapper with screaming electric guitars but has a hook running through it that will attract admirers. A good song that we would like to hear performed live.
The instrumentation throughout this project is impressive. ‘Slow Emotion’ and ‘Baby Blue’ with a subtle mandolin backing, ‘The Private’ with its harmonica introduction and ‘Country Road’ that features a pedal steel.
There hasn’t been too much buzz yet about Shane Gamble on social media. Based on the quality of this release that may be about to change.
JAMESON RODGERS EP
A 4-tracker from new artist Jameson Rodgers who is signed to Combustion/Atlas Music in Nashville.
He has a voice that belies his young age. The 4 tracks on offer here verge towards the rockier end of country music and this may be direction that he decides to go. ‘That’s Why The River Runs’ would not be out of place on a Jason Aldean album.
The lead track ‘Rehab’ is a little gentler on the ears and has the commercial appeal. It features the screaming guitars but has a memorable chorus that may attract attention if it gets airplay.
By far the best track on offer here is ‘Girls That Smoke’. This is the one that demonstrates the appeal of Jameson Rodgers and should be the song that propels him into the mainstream market. “Got to quit hanging with girls that smoke” …. the tale of mixing with females of a dubious reputation told to a very hypnotic foot-tapping beat. Good song.
The competition is huge and the opportunities seem to be getting smaller for up and coming US aspiring country artists but Jameson Rodgers’ latest project is worthy of your attention.
AUSTIN MEADE – ‘HEARTBREAK COMING’ EP
Another singer songwriter based in Texas, Austin Meade, has released a 5-track EP ‘Heartbreak Coming’.
Meade has been around a little longer than our previous featured artist. He released an EP in 2014 ‘Long Ways To Go’ and an album titeld ‘Chief of Sinners’ later that same year. He has been building a reputation on the Texan country scene and has been performing extensively promoting his new music.
So where are we with the new music? Not hugely ‘country’ but very enjoyable and certainly deserves a listen. He has crafted 5 tracks that demonstrate the diversity in his music. It’s a pleasure when reviewing an EP when we are unable to choose a stand out track.
This is the case here. They all have their attributes. ‘Feet on the Floor’ is the most out-and-out country track on offer. Certainly it’s the cut that features the most traditional instrumentation.
However if your tastes include a little ‘twang’ check out the ballad ‘Meant for More’. It builds wonderfully from start to finish and is incredibly raw and honest.
This is a nice preview to hopefully another full album from Austin Meade. Another name that should be on your list.
DREW BALDRIDGE – ‘DIRT ON US’
This is an interesting one. You might have come across ‘Dance With Ya’, a pop-country, almost Earth Wind and Fire inspired song that has been featured on US country radio. The new artist behind this is Drew Baldridge who has released his first album “Dirt On Us”.
If you are familiar with the single you might be anticipating where we are going with the album. You won’t be too far off the mark. He has a reputation for a stellar stage show and the songs on offer here are clearly produced to enhance this.
There isn’t anything that will challenge anyone lyrically. There isn’t anything that will greatly appeal to the traditionalists but there is plenty to interest anyone who likes good time party songs.
“I know I’m not the most talented guy in Nashville but I also know that nobody can outwork me”. He has recently embarked on a 48-state radio tour stretching over 6 months. It would be fair to say that he has paid his dues.
We have 13 tracks on offer here and he co-wrote 11. They are predominately upbeat and feature a mix of musical influences. You might hear a little jazz mixed in with the twang, you might also hear a few instrumental breaks that remind you of Michael Jackson. That’s intentional. He credits the soul greats as influences.
It’s not all happy and poppy however. ‘Town That The World Forgot’ is the big ballad and the album ends with the hymn ‘It Is Well With My Soul’, an unusual way to round off an album considering what has come before.
He has very recently made his Opry debut and appeared at the CMA festival. If you embrace someone who is not afraid to blend genres, Drew Baldridge is your man. There are some very tasty tracks on offer here and there’s a market for this. Just ask Thomas Rhett.
BRIAN HUGHES – ‘NATIVE NEON’
A debut album from Tulsa, Oklahoma native Brian Hughes and an album that appears to have attracted some heavy hitters in Nashville.
The 8 tracks have been mixed and mastered by Vance Powell and Pete Lyman who were involved in ‘Traveller’ for Chris Stapleton.
His bio states that he quit his job as a “high voltage lineman” to chase his dreams in Nashville. He doesn’t say when this was but we all know the stories of broken dreams. For every success story there are hundreds that fall away. Will Mr Hughes ever be returning to the world of electricity supply? Judging by the quality on offer here, we doubt it.
This is a very impressive collection of songs and forms a very solid debut album. He mixes rock and roll seamlessly with the country vibes and the end result is an album that just might be a success.
We invite you to sample the delights of ‘Canoe’. It is a perfect introduction to Hughes’ music. A powerhouse of a song that features slide guitars and a beat that encapsulates the music.
His songwriting is straight from his Oklahoma roots. “I was raised by the good book and washed by the blood catching fire flies and bathing in mud” is the opening line to the opener ‘Mustang’. We were hooked and we suspect you may be too.