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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Brei Carter

Smiling EP

Review by Gary Hill

It seems to that there have been several movements in country music in the last decade or two. One has been a shift toward pop music or rock music, essentially removing the things that made it country music in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience. Almost as a response to that, there has been push to bring more of those pure old-school country elements into the genre. I tend to prefer the stuff that leans more toward the old-school stuff. I mean, if you want to do country, do country. Don't do pop and call it country music. Well, this new three-song EP seems to do a great job of working a middle ground between the two. Musically it does lean a bit toward the mainstream end of the spectrum, but the vocals deliver that country sound with style and passion. This is a great set leaving the listener wanting to hear more. I call that a success.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 3. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
Country Choir
I love the cool rocking sound brought by the guitar. The tune has some catchy modern country hooks to it, but with a serious twang. This is really the best of both worlds.
Smiling
The title track is more of ballad. It's a bit less old-school in terms of country edge. Yet, it's not really modern, either. The guitar fills lend more traditional country to it. Even so, the electric guitar solo is set in a new rock zone. The bridge feels a bit soulful and modern pop oriented. That bit feels a bit over-produced to me, and doesn't really seem to fit the song. Still, the overall tune works well.
Yours
Another that lands more in a balladic zone, this one leans a bit more on fhe modern country sound. That said, this is definitely not over-produced or overly pop-based. It just has a bit more of a mainstream element to it. It's an effective number.
 
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