My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Tag Archives: Charlie Worsham

Occasional Hope’s favorite singles of 2013

i let her talkCountry radio may have gone from bad to worse this year, but as ever there were a few bright spots – and some great singles away from the mainstream offerings. Here are my favorite singles of 2013:

10. Wagon Wheel – Darius Rucker
A vibrant, charming cover with rootsy production. What a pity the rest of the album was so deadly dull.

9. It Ain’t The Whiskey – Gary Allan
A bit loud, and perhaps rather similar to past songs, but a great vocal makes this worthwhile.

8. Songs About Trucks – Wade Bowen
An emotion I think we can all get behind – no more songs about trucks, please. But this isn’t just a complaint, this song also has a genuine emotional storyline which lets it stand on its own merits.

overnight success7. Overnight Success – Zane Williams
The independent artist explains how to become a country star, overnight (well, after nine or ten years hard work, of course). A fine song, by turns ironic, self-deprecating and good humoured.

6. Stripes – Brandy Clark
The witty song isn’t the best on the singer-songwriter’s excellent album 12 Stories, but it’s highly entertaining nonetheless. It’s a pity it hasn’t got more mainstream attention.

what are you listening to5. What Are You Listening To – Chris Stapleton
A very tastefully arranged recording, a well written song, and intensely emotional vocal. It wasn’t as successful as I had hoped it would be, and the singer-songwriter and former SteelDriver still awaits release of his solo album for Mercury, but it’s a fine and memorable record.

4. I Got A Car – George Strait
The story song about a couple’s journey from first meeting to starting a family, written by Keith Gattis and Tom Douglas, was an obvious single choice from George’s current album. It is packed full of charm, and shows the veteran (unexpectedly named the CMA Entertainer of the year) still has commercial potential.

3. Could It Be – Charlie Worsham
A debut single from a young artist with a fresh, youthful sound. Utterly charming. I wasn’t as taken by the album, but the single (which reached #13 on the country airplay chart) stands up as one of the more refreshing moments on country radio this year.

borrowed2. Borrowed – LeAnn Rimes
A cheating song from LeAnn’s somewhat controversial Spitfire album. Her mature vocals are beautiful, and the self-penned song draws with an unsparing honesty on LeAnn’s own experiences with her early relationship with her current husband, when both were married to others. The song’s complicated emotions didn’t help LeAnn’s increasingly chequered image, but it’s a fine and deeply truthful song – what country music is all about. The production is delicately sensitive and allows the vocals to shine.

1. I Let Her Talk – Erin Enderlin
A fantastic story song from the singer-songwriter, this beautifully realised tale narrates a bar room encounter between two women drowing their troubles. In an unexpected twist the meeting turns out to be between a man’s wife (the narrator) and his clueless “careless drunk” lover. Erin wrote the song with the great Leslie Satcher, and it is perfectly constructed. This was the promotional single for Erin’s independent album of the same name, and although it received limited mainstream attention it was absolutely the best single of the year for me.

Album Review: Charlie Worsham – ‘Rubberband’

rubberbandI was thoroughly charmed by Charlie Worsham’s debut single. And keen to see what the young Mississippian  would come up with on his first album.  the result is interesting.  While it’s not a traditional country record, it is a breath of fresh air in the rock and pop environs of modern country radio.  Charlie wrote all the songs with a variety of collaborators, many of them with his co-producer Ryan Tyndell.  He is a capable rather than outstanding vocalist, with a pleasant, rather light voice, but his songwriting and musicianship are both strong.

I still love the single, which makes a delightful opening to the album and remains my favourite track.  The following ‘Want Me Too’ is stylistically very similar with a bright youthful feel, prominent banjo, and strong harmonies on the chorus.   The lyric (once more about the early stages of falling in love) has an arresting opening,

You’ve got a lock on your heart
It’s chained in the dark
And somehow you lost the key

But the darkness doesn’t last long, as a sunny attitude imbues the song; one feels quite confident that she will succumb to the protagonist’s charms.

There is a very youthful feel to the whole record.  I very much liked the folky and probably autobiographical ‘Young To See’, about seizing opportunities to experience life.  ‘How I Learned To Pray’ is a gentle ballad about finding God through first love which is rather sweet.  The more wistful ‘Mississippi In July’ also looks back to his teens and is quite atmospheric in an understated way.

‘Tools Of The Trade’ is a paean to making music, with some star guests: Marty Stuart and Vince Gill, on both vocals and mandolin/guitar respectively, and (billed only in the small print) Rebecca Lynn Howard on backing vocals.  It’s a bit heavier sounding than the remainder of the record, but still fairly rootsy.

I also liked ‘Love Don’t Die Easy’ and ‘Break What’s Broken’, a pair of low-key ballads, the former with Sheryl Crow on backing vocals.

‘Trouble Is’ is pleasant but unexciting, while ‘Someone Like Me’ is like early Keith Urban, with quite  a nicely written wistful lyric.  The one track I didn’t enjoy at all was the self-indulgent title track, which is repetitive and nonsensical lyrically, and really just an excuse for some experimental musicianship.

While not an essential purchase, this is a very pleasant sounding record with some decent songs.  it is very tastefully produced and mixed so that electric guitars and drums do not overwhelm everything else as they do on so many commercial successes.  I hope that this more understated and organic sound can find a space on country radio.

Grade: B+

Single Review: Charlie Worsham – ‘Could It Be’

could it be charlie worshamThe latest newcomer to hit country radio looks like Warner Brothers’ Charlie Worsham, and this single is a very promising start for him. The Mississippi-born multi-instrumentalist made his Opry aged 12 as a child prodigy banjo player, but is now forging out on his own as a mainstream country artist.

Worsham has a light but attractive tenor voice with a slight plaintive feel. His voice is pleasant rather than really distinctive, but it works well on this track, particularly when he is backed u on the chorus by strong harmonies. The multi-tracked first line in particular gives the track a bright opening which grab the audience’s attention and sets out the positive mood (after an adventurous but slightly odd instrumental opening).

The song is contemporary country with a fairly organic production, striking a balance which should appeal to fans of acts like The Band Perry and Edens Edge. The tune is catchy and suits the lyrics’ hopeful approach. The end result is fresh and new while still being recognizably country.

He wrote the well-constructed and tuneful song himself with Marty Dodson and Ryan Tyndell. It presents a bright optimistic sunny look at the possibilities of a new love interest. An evening’s drinking with a friend leads to a change in their relationship:

Who knows, we might go down in flames
Then again I might just change your name
Could it be I’m finally holding what I’ve been hoping for
Could it be the end of “just friends”
The start of something more?
Oh, the way I’m feeling now
It’s worth sticking around to see
Is this love, or could it be?

I was quite encouraged by this debut single and am interested in hearing more from this young artist.

Grade: B

Listen here.