- Director/Editor-In-Chief of music blog For The Country Record, member of the Country Music Association
For The Country Record is full of sassy, honest blogging about country, americana, roots, folk, bluegrass, southern rock, alt country, indie folk and many more, with a strong thread devoted to showcasing up-and-coming and independent acts.
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- folk, singer/songwriter, music, americana, indie folk, bluegrass, country, alt-country
- Wirral, UK
This is an interesting track that seems to want to cross over between multiple genres and styles. It reminds me in several places of Pitbull + Ke$ha's hit 'Timber'; that intriguing combination of country inflections over a club-style pop track (aside from the fact the melody and phrasing is quite similar in the chorus). I'm not sure how I feel about the much slower, melancholic intro, as I'm not sure it fits. The repeat of this semi-refrain later in the song works much better and is absorbed into the rest of the song more effectively, but the intro is a little too laboured and confusing. Other than that, the song is catchy and I think the falsetto suits it well. This is sure to be popular in the dance-pop, or even R&B-pop scene. Best of luck with it.
It's an interesting choice of cover and I like what has been done to make it your own; the arrangement and production is professional, distinct and works well. You describe it as rock, which is certainly accurate, but given the trends in mainstream country nowadays you could almost say it's marketable in that regard too. My only issue is with the vocal; it's a bit too nasal for my liking, and is toeing that line where it sounds like it might have been slightly auto-tuned. I'm not 100% sure, so forgive me if it hasn't been pitched corrected whatsoever, it might just be a byproduct of the vocal style along with the instrumental mix. If it has been auto-tuned, I really don't think it fits. If it hasn't, perhaps look at giving the vocal a bigger impact withing the production, because at the moment it's a smidgen too tinny and slightly overpowered by everything else. That's a small criticism really, but something that might be worth having a look at. Otherwise it's a solid cover, and you could probably license it to stores looking for cheaper-to-acquire covers of hit songs. There's quite a market there.
This song slots in fairly well with other dirty Southern rock songs of its ilk musically, and the rough production coupled with those ringing guitar riffs will feel right at home among fans of that kind of music. At times I wonder if it could be mixed a little better, but it's true that this genre of music lends itself to a more 'imperfect' recording. The duet is a good idea, and Adam's certainly a great choice of vocalist, but despite the lightness/darkness in tones it can become confusing as a narrative if only listened to casually. There are a lot of lyrics and a lot of back and forth for a relatively simple tale, and I think you could cut out the first couple of stanzas as they don't really add to the story. I think you need to start with the bank robbery, and perhaps during these times it would be topical to touch on the subject of police brutality and shoot-to-kill, particularly as you use the criminal's verses to cast a light of empathy on his actions. It's a good start but it needs to be reworked a bit before it can be really great.
The riff and guitar work in general on this track is one of the best things about it. It typifies that Southern rock, rough-and-ready, late night bars and dives sound, with the professional but unpolished production serving it well. The vocals are okay, nothing special but they do the job the song requires of them, and while the lyrics aren't the most inspired, the context outlined above admittedly isn't known for its inspiring lyricism. It provides a soundtrack to drinking and getting rowdy among the blue collar, working class communities of America. I don't think the song will do much beyond local and regional zones on the independent touring circuit, but it is fit for purpose and I think revelers will enjoy it.
Another track firmly within the Southern Rock vein, specifically with a classic, throwback feel. This is a tried and tested formula over the years, and will no doubt work well within a set of other rough honky-tonk songs in bars and dives. The lyrics have a strong message to them and are an improvement on the previous track submitted, but it is rather a well-worn narrative and it sticks unfailingly to cliches. The phrasing on the chorus especially is clunky and needs to be revised to allow it to flow better, especially seeing as it's the hook that will draw people in. The vocals also are just 'okay' - not bad, and serve their purpose. Unfortunately at this point in time the song is a little forgettable, but the promise is there with the production and arrangement, and with some revision I'm sure it could be a fan favorite on a regional scale.
I really like the arrangement and composition - the guitar picking is understated but pretty and keeps a rhythm going along with the tasteful drum part. The lyrics are wistful and aching and written in a real Americana tradition. I think it was well-produced too, not over-complicating things; the pedal steel is a beautiful addition. The only thing I'm not so hot on is the voice - it's a little too dry and unpassionate for me. I feel like the vocals need to hit a little harder. That's just my opinion, though. I think in terms of market value its production/arrangement is perfect for what you're going for, and would certainly pick up an audience in Americana as long as it's sent to the right tastemakers etc. You might consider re-recording the vocals, or you might leave it as it is; it's one of those things that'll really be down to people's individual vocal tastes. The rest of it is great though and I think you should give it a shot.
I like this! Pretty vocal, lovely lilting tune, and some wonderful dobro work. My only issue really is some of the production - at times it feels a bit rough in terms of how the drums and voice are mixed in. It could sparkle a bit more - and I'm not sure the gritty electric guitar is the best instrument to underpin such a traditionally-orientated tune. Still, this is a great effort, that with some fine-tuning could be awesome.
This is really well-produced, to a Music Row, mainstream radio level standard. I love the instrumentation, especially the mandolin solo, and I like how you've given more room for instrumentation in between vocal sections so you're not rushing through the song. Especially since the tempo is quite fast and the lyrics tumble out at a quick pace. The sound and vibe really fit the lyrics as a kiss-off; it's sassy, foot-stomping, and would go down really well live. The vocals are not the best I've ever heard, but they're decent enough. I think this is a great song to get your promotional efforts behind.
Very relaxing and atmospheric, clearly whoever produced this knows what they're doing. It's polished and to a high standard without coming across soulless. The haunting vocals are especially nice. Obviously part of its purpose is to create a certain vibe or mood, but at 4:43 in length it could do with a couple of other thematic ideas to keep the listener engaged. However, it's still a great piece of music.
It's a sweet song with a lovely narrative. Sometimes the lyrics are a little clunky when squeezed into the phrasing, but otherwise it works well. The production/arrangement is quite serene, while nice it might benefit from more depth, such as heavier drums, bass, and more definition in the instrumentation. Perhaps use less reverb? The vocals are not outstanding, but they do their job. Overall I think this is a good effort with a heartwarming message.
This is clearly a very heartfelt song about a subject not often tackled from this angle. Of course this has a lovely lyric that tells a story, although sometimes it repeats certain words and sentiments - you could add more details in certain areas. I really like the mandolin work and the song has a solid, airy mix that isn't too overproduced. I do think that your vocals are quite weak and need some real work - because the mix has lots of space in it, your vocals are left vulnerable and bare, and they're not strong enough to carry things. If they had been part of bigger production with several layers of harmonies etc and even some vocal edits, it would have been fine, but here they don't work and it impacts the recording.
The production, arrangement, melody, lyrics and vocals of this song are all sounding good. The thing I can't get past is how you describe is as prog rock. This isn't even remotely related to prog rock. It does have elements of Americana, but is grounded in singer/songwriter folk pop. The closest this song gets to experimenting is the extended outro, which messes around with rhythms and I'm on the fence as to whether it sounds clever or simply chaotic and accidental. I do like this song, and the poetic, metaphorical lyrics. But I think you're killing it with your description; you need to change how you market it to tastemakers and consumers.
This has a really authentic, warm, vintage sound to it. You must have taken great care in the studio to make sure it sounded this way and I imagine you recorded it all live - so well done if so. I really can't find any fault with the production or arrangement, and the lyrical narrative is one that is familiar to audiences, particularly those who are fans of the outlaw movement, so will be popular when playing live. In general you could use continued improvement and practice on your vocals, but they're perfectly suitable for this song - I'm just trying to think of of constructive critique to aid you. But really, this is a great track that will appeal to many traditional country fans.
I like the song, it has a good structure, catchy and simple, enjoyable. The vocals suit the style of song well too, and certainly the beginning sounds great. However, as the drums and electric guitars kick in before the chorus, something happens to the production on the vocals and everything starts to sound a little messy. I understand what you were attempting to go for with the grittier sound over a folksy base, but by the end it's too much and the production seriously suffers. It just ends up as chaos, unfortunately. If you change that up I think it could be great.
I'm really finding it hard to fault this. Everything, from the production, to the arrangement, to the vocal, to the lyrics are just great. Singer/songwriter pop with plenty of inflections of soul. Think in the right promotional hands this could be a big hit, well done! Not sure I can personally feature because my outlet is country and americana only, but I do wish you the best of luck.
This has a solid, traditional country arrangement that really gives the song a great platform from the start. The vocals are not the most technically proficient in the world, but they suit the style of song and the lyrics are hilarious - if a little cringeworthy considering the subject matter! This will go down really well live I can imagine.
The lyric to this track is heartbreaking and a really revealing look at the lack of emotional support for soldiers after they come home. Well-crafted, and the soft accompaniment is restrained to allow focus on the lyrics. Has quite an Americana feel to this one. My only gripe is that I think for this kind of song a better vocalist is necessary, with more melodic qualities to the voice that offset the semi-spoken delivery.
I like the arrangement - very commercial with still time given to the banjo, and the mix is extremely professional. Builds well without any R&B drum loops on the verses (a pet peeve of mine). The lyric, while a little generic for my liking, is nice enough and has a romantic edge and I'm sure young women will like it. Personally, however, I don't like the vocals, but it's not that they're incompetant, that type of voice just doesn't sit well with me. It's very pop, a little whispery. Still, I think it's very radio-friendly and will be a hit live.
This is certainly a well-crafted piece of music; multiple tracks running varying melodic strands, with a very pretty focus melody that helps to induce a mood of serenity. The only thing I would perhaps say is a vocal, even just occasionally, would be a lovely addition. I don't know if this is actually an instrumental track to something that once had a vocal, but I think a short refrain (perhaps with some three or four part harmonies) cropping up from time to time would add variation and hold attention. Still, it's a lovely piece of music and I think you should be proud of it.
I honestly wasn't sure about this one. I like the message and some of the instrumentation is well done, for example electric guitar, fiddle. But the drums a little sparse and tinny in places, and at times I wonder if it could have been produced a little better. The vocals, too, I think would have been better if fully sung - perhaps that's just my own taste and I can see what you were trying to do - but I don't think the chosen vocalist pulled it off completely effectively. This track is okay, but could do with some polishing up in the studio to really make it pop.
I like this a lot better than the previous song. I think it's much more cohesive in its structure, and the arrangement is well-mixed. The vocals are raw enough in places to have that everyman feel but are capable enough to carry the song with charisma. I like the touch of the bar and crowd sounds - I don't know if this was actually recorded live or just made to sound like it, but either way I think this is the right kind of song for that. Amusing, fun, laid-back lyrics too.
I like the guitar work - very bluesy, John Mayer-esque. The fiddle is also a nice touch to sweeten things, and it works well with the vocals, which are treated to a classic, familiar country melody. The message especially is a fresh angle on something that has been covered a few times in this genre and I like the originality in that. The only thing that bothers me is the percussion - it sounds tinny and poorly mixed, which while not always obvious becomes very distracting at some parts. Otherwise this is a great track.
This is a very atmospheric piece - quite ethereal in places, and hard to pinpoint genre-wise (not that that's a bad thing). I like that things are kept rooted in 'real' instrumentation and enhanced with the eletronic elements without getting too overly-synthy or relying on drum loops. The vocals are also well-suited to the song although I fear on other more demanding tracks they would struggle (for example, on the high note around 2:20, she is straining). Certainly adds that Nordic flavor though throughout and the journey of the melody (both in the vocals and key instrumentation) is rather original and different.
I love the initial mellow vibe of this song and the drone technique of the guitars etc, slowly building. Despite this, the wall of sound at the chorus is still something of a surprise, and moves it from the ballpark of The Civil Wars (love her voice, part Joy Williams, part Alison Krauss) to a sound entirely her own. Some artists use this same "drowning" effect in the mix but throughout, and it becomes too heavy. This is perfectly balanced and is so enjoyable that one almost forgets to pay attention to the lyrics. Still, they're impressive in their own right, fabulously heartrending, and the video is a great accompaniment. I would love to cover this on my site.