2020 was a positive year for Hailey Whitters. The Iowa native released one of the best albums of the year, featuring regularly on end-of-year wrap up lists. She is reaching new audiences at a fast pace, becoming one of the up-and-coming stars of the genre.
The Dream is a stellar album, with tracks that embrace positivity (such as “Happy People” – a co-write with Lori McKenna which many will know thanks to Little Big Town), and songs that address the down sides of chasing a dream (“Ten Year Town” – a co-write with Brandy Clark). The album has a key theme of appreciating life, a message that feels more relevant than ever.
Whitters has now released the extended version of this album, adding even more texture to a wonderful collection of songs. Each of these new additions feature someone important in Whitters’ journey to success:
“All of the artists featured on this project are responsible for me being able to hang up the apron strings and make music full-time”
Brett Cobb features on “Glad To Be Here”. This effervescent song is a reminder to take a look around and enjoy yourself. This sentiment is nothing new, but the combination of Whitters’ and Cobbs’ voice is divine, and the touches of Americana sounds are a welcome addition.
“The Ride” similarly focuses on gratitude, living in the moment and appreciating others. This duet with Jordan Davis shows the talents of both vocalists, as they harmonise beautifully on a glorious piece about how the “road makes the ride”.
“How Far Can It Go?” Picks up on themes in the original version of the album and is a motivational anthem about youth, chasing a dream and betting on love. The fiddle instrumentation is a perfect addition to a cheerful song, and compliments the duet vocals provided by country powerhouse Trisha Yearwood.
“How To Break A Heart” is perhaps the sequel to “How Far Can It Go?”. The song adds a uniquely female perspective to the idea of having fun when being single, and the benefits of ending a relationship to move on. The song also features two other amazing voices from her stellar circle of songwriting buddies – Lori McKenna and Hillary Lindsey.
“The royalties from Little Big Town’s cut on ‘Happy People’ helped pay for part of The Dream, Brent Cobb and Jordan Davis were two of the first artists to take me on tour”
However, the best moment here is “Fillin’ My Cup”, such a fun song with a traditional country feel throughout. Written by Whiitters, Nicolle Galyon and Hillary Lindsey, the lyrics are a fresh take on the familiar drinking party theme.
“It ain’t the bartender, it ain’t the bottle
It ain’t the headache I’ll have tomorrow
It’s a high-low life when you shake it on up
Fillin’ my cup”
Overall, these five new tracks don’t just add to ‘The Dream’, but enhance it greatly. As a whole, this is one of the most relatable and emotive albums of the last few years.