My Kind of Country

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

Tag Archives: Philip White

Single Review: Scotty McCreery – ‘The Trouble With Girls’

The 17 year old won American Idol earlier this year and seems set fair for a big career. His debut single was a rather bad song which nonetheless won him some early radio play in an encouraging sign for his career. I ended the Idol run as unsure about Scotty’s true quality as an artist, and readiness for success, as I began it, but this new, and much better, single heralds a debut album which has been rush-recorded over the summer and is out next month.

Scotty’s voice impresses me more than ever before especially on the verses, displaying some classic country inflections. The song itself, a gentle ballad with an attractive melody about the distracting prettiness of girls (entirely age-appropriate for a teenage boy’s preoccupation) written by Philip White and Chris Tompkins, is harmlessly insubstantial, and will play inoffensively in the background making it a perfect radio song to be forgotten within minutes. But the vocal, especially in the early part of the record, is worth hearing and demands better material.

The production starts out attractively low-key, but builds unnecessarily to a massed set of strings which overwhelm a modest song, perhaps with the intent that what is obviously a genuine country voice does not sound too traditional for radio. However, I think they went too far in that direction, considering the recent success that Easton Corbin has managed with a more traditional based production.

With the votes Scotty gained on Idol signalling a significant fanbase, he should have no difficulty selling his album in high numbers, regardless of its quality. This single has a few too many compromises with radio tastes for me to truly like it, but it definitely shows that he really does have a voice, and great potential for the future once he has matured a little and found more substantial material and sympathetic production.

Grade: B

Listen here.

Album Review: Jolie Holliday – ‘Lucky Enough’

Dallas-born Jolie Holliday is a new discovery for me, although this is apparently her second release. Her soprano voice has a clarity of tone which is really lovely, and her approach is solidly country with at times folk overtones. Co-produced by the artist herself with Rob Matson and Hank Singer (the latter playing fiddle and mandolin), this album is a delight. The material is all pretty good, mostly coming from established country songwriters.

Opening track ‘I’m Coming Home To You’ (written by Stephanie Smith and Jeff Stevens) has a pretty, folky feel about longing for reunion with a loved one after time away. This promising start is followed by one of my favorite tracks, Marla Cannon and Karyn Rochelle’s ‘Better Off’. This is a great ballad advising a friend (or herself?) not to beg her man not to leave, as his departure will leave her better off in the long run:

So go on and get his suitcase
And help him pack it up
Girl, you ain’t losin’ nothing
You don’t need his kind of love

My absolute favourite track is ‘I’ll Try Anything’, the candid confession of a woman desperate to kill the pain of a broken heart by any means possible:

I can’t stand the smell of smoke
But I bought myself a pack
Bummed a light from a stranger
Nearly choked on my first drag
I hate the taste of whiskey
And this bar room ain’t my style
But I’ll try anything
Not to hurt for a while

Jolie’s vocals are particularly impressive on this big ballad, belting out the big notes without oversinging, and holding back when necessary, The song was a single for its co-writer Amber Dotson a few years ago but I prefer the purity of Jolie’s voice on this song to Amber’s more jaded interpretation, which failed to reach the top 40, although both versions are worth hearing.

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