Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart dated February 27, 2016 makes interesting but also depressing reading for female artists. The top 30 contains just 3 entries from female artists. A 10% female contribution reflects poorly on the industry and even taking the whole of the top 50 chart into consideration, this only adds another 4 female artists.
The blame can be debated elsewhere, but a convenient response would be a lack of female talent. I don’t think that this actually stacks up and we have here a very good example to counter that proposition.
For those of you in the UK not too familiar with Palmer Lee, a brief resume of her bio might be useful. She’s a 23-year-old singer-song writer from Rogers, Arkansas. She began her career as one half of country/folk duo ‘3rd and Union’ with partner Chase Coy who is now a writer at Tree Vibez Music. They released an album in 2012 that received plaudits from the US press and the final track on the album ‘No More’ featured on the TV show ‘Degrassi’.
Palmer states that her influences range from Lee Ann Womack to Katy Perry and she considers herself primarily a songwriter who covers both country and pop spectrums.
‘Too Close’, a 9-track album, is her first as a solo singer.
On Instagram she describes herself as a songwriter and “occasional” artist. She might want to revisit this description based upon the evidence here.
My only criticism is that it’s too short…always a positive.
This album compares very favourably with her peers. Combine good songs, excellent backing and production values with a beautiful pure voice and you basically have this album down to a tee.
The opening 2 tracks ‘Waste On You’ and the title track ‘Too Close’ showcase the country-pop side to Palmer’s song-writing. Both are up-beat with the latter featuring a pounding electric guitar backing and will no doubt feature heavily in live shows.
Her duet with Luke Preston ‘Mess Me Up’ drops the tempo down a notch and sets the stall for the rest of the album. The slide guitars feature heavily in a song that could easily fit onto a Lady A album.
It’s always tempting when listening to new artists to compare them to others. Falling into that trap ‘Last Call’ just screams Kacey Musgraves! Pure country; fiddles, slide guitars and a story to tell. A really good song.
The quality continues on ‘Devil In The Detail’ featuring an excellent fiddle solo and Palmer’s pure vocal delivery.
Every new artist needs a breakthrough song. Think Cam with ‘Burning House’ or Kacey with ‘Merry go Round’. There are certainly contenders here.
‘I Should Know Better’ or ‘California’ are mighty fine songs that deserve airplay and exposure.
The album closes with ‘Simple Love’ and ‘I Won’t Wait’, the former an acoustic love song, the latter a slow builder that develops into a superb showcase for Palmer’s vocal range.
Returning to the opening paragraphs of this review and the general lack of contributions from female artists at the top of today’s country music tree, here we have a new album from a very talented artist that deserves to be recognised.
There’s certainly room for Palmer Lee.