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Hope Dunbar

Sweetheartland

Review by Gary Hill

While I appreciate country music, and particularly country with rock leanings, I wouldn't consider it one of my wheelhouse genres. That makes it more significant when I talk about how great something like this is. I previously reviewed another set from this artist. I said that here music there was more along the lines of folk. This one really rocks, and I think that's a strength. However you label this or describe it, though, it's a collection of particularly strong music with plenty of Americana and country built into it.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 3. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
Sweetheartland
Rock music and country merge on this classy number. It's got some great hooks and some meaty textures.
What Were You Thinking?
This song ups the ante. It's angry, harder rocking and so classy. There is still some country in the mix, but this overall is more of just a straight-ahead rock tune. It reminds me a little of Meat Loaf, but you know with female vocals.
Woman Like Me
a burst of sound gives way to a balladic, stripped back approach for the entrance of the vocals. This is more along the lines of pure country music.
John Prine
A tribute to the artist in the title, this has plenty of country and rock in the mix. It's down-home and so classy. I love the harmonica solo.
Dog Like You
This love-done-me-wrong tune has a lot going for it. At its core it's a rock leaning country tune. Beyond that, though, there are hints of funk and soul in the mix. I love the expressive guitar soloing, too. This is one of my favorites here.
Evacuate
Dramatic folk and rock merge on this classic tune. It's a real powerhouse packed with emotion and style.
The Road Is
I'd call this "Americana-laced rock" more than country music. Whatever you call it, though, it's a potent and magical piece. It's exceptionally effective and a highlight of the set.
Dust
Country-leaning pop rock is the order of business here. I'm not all that enamored with this song. It's solid, but not up to the same level as the rest of the set.
More
This country-based rocker is so classy. It's not a highlight of the set, but it is a step-up from the previous one.
 
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