Lainey Wilson – Tougher

12961471_975941522489005_2991323441061558652_nTowards of the end of last year we came across a new single release from Lainey Wilson, ‘Tougher’, that deserved far more exposure than it actually received. It’s included here in a full length 10-track album from this singer-songwriter who originates from Louisiana but has been part of the Nashville scene for a number of years.

Her album is released on Lone Chief Records and is produced by Frank Foster who is also fast making a name for himself as a singer-songwriter and appears on one track here.

This is a country girl who sings country music. Sounds obvious but today’s freeway to success is often based upon a pop-country sound.

We are never far from a slide guitar and Wilson’s sultry vocals tell some fine stories.

She estimates that she has written in the region of 600 songs and as fellow female country artists would vouch it only takes one to launch a career. Cam and Maren Morris have broken through in the last 12 months with signature tunes and there are some serious contenders here.

The albums opener ‘Gravel’ is a song that would be very much at home on a Maddie and Tae album. A slide guitar driven backing and a very bouncy feel to a song that has the ability to cross over. It tells the story of a relationship that doesn’t depend upon material riches. “A little bit of dirt didn’t seem to matter, love looks better standing in the gravel”.

Another highlight is ‘Two Sides Of Bad’, a “turn up the volume” song that is a foot tapping delight and should be longer!

It’s the song that would very much inspire me to check out her live show. It tells the story of a two timing, no good cheat who “makes me feel like trash” but the delivery belies the subject. One for the line dancing fraternity.

‘Caught on Fire’ has a chorus that inspires the audience to sing along, never a bad thing. The sincerity in her vocals are a particularly strong aspect to Lainey’s music and for a new artist debuting her first album the depth in this song is mighty impressive.

‘Bright Side’ is another that has to be heard live. The girl has serious talent and can temper her delivery to suit the song. It also demonstrates that the rich tapestry of life that influences her song writing isn’t always dark.

A serious stand-out has to be ‘I Make Myself’, a powerful ballad where the sultry vocals and slides combine to create an album highlight.  The brooding subject matter of recovering from a broken relationship is complemented by the dark, atmospheric production.

The previous single and title track ‘Tougher’ remains one of her strongest contributions to date. “Life is tough but this girl’s tougher”. A simple message but wrapped up in a delightful song that really should have been afforded more attention.

The difficulty that an artist like Lainey Wilson has is getting her music heard. The exposure that this album has had is modest to date. This ought to change. The reviews from the people who actually matter, namely her customers, are extremely positive. She has a 5-star iTunes rating.  Deservedly so.

If you want to encourage someone who has not taken the easy route towards fame and fortune in our genre you should definitely take a listen to this album.