The debut EP from Yorkshire based singer songwriter has balls. Cricket pun intended!
Music has always been in Carolynne’s blood. At age 14 she joined ‘Sundown’, a five piece Country band and she hasn’t looked back since. Various projects, including an appearance on X Factor, have led to her receiving over 6.5m Youtube viewings and trips to Nashville and LA have led her to work with industry stalwarts like Jeff Silbar (Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson). Carolynne released her debut single, “I Love You But Shut Up’ in 2015 and appeared at the C2C Festival in 2016 but April 7th will see her release her debut Ep ‘Coming Back to Me’, a clear step forward in both sound and writing that should see her begin to establish herself as a real artist of promise on the UK scene.
The Ep begins with a cover of ‘Stop in the Name of Love’. An interesting choice for lead track. It is dripping in acoustic and steel guitar – a slow, soulful and sultry track which really showcases the depth of Carolynne’s voice. It’s fine and might be a gateway lure for non-Country fans but it isn’t a patch on what is to follow.
Track 2, ‘Cupid Must Have Been High’ really ups the ante in terms of beat and quality. A stirring, Carrie Underwood infused stomper that will go down a storm in the pubs, clubs and theatres of the UK. “You were so bad but I wasn’t much better……..Cupid must have been high when he got us together.” She sings, riffing on that old theme of destructive relationships. It carries a real Southern feel and wouldn’t have been out of place on Carrie Underwood’s ‘Storyteller’ album. An authentically Southern song of real quality.
‘Real Man’ is track 3. A ‘girls night out’ song that laments the lack of decent men. “I don’t need a Superman, don’t want no pussycat, I guess the good guys are gone,” she bemoans. This is another up-tempo, rocky Country song, more towards the Shania Twain end of the spectrum although it does have some nice electric fiddle in it, keeping the authentic Country feel going when it might have been tempting to go full pop!
Track 4 is ‘Let Me Unlove You’, the big, big ballad. Again we see Carolynne back in Carrie Underwood territory. A darker, moodier song with a big, big chorus. This one really showcases her vocal range and will win over fans by the dozens on the live circuit. Authentic Country pop done with both style and quality.
Th final track on the EP is the title track, ‘Coming Back to Me’. The song begins with just Carolynne and an acoustic guitar. The first chorus sees a breakout of sorts and the wail of an electric guitar but it is the second chorus where the song explodes. What on the surface appears something akin to a Delta Goodrem or pre-Country Lucie Silvas song suddenly takes on a Meat Loaf-esque quality all of its own as the drums and guitars kick in and the song rockets forward. This should be the song the whole promo campaign should be based around. The temptation will be to push ‘Stop in the Name of Love’ in the hope of winning over casual music listeners and those not familiar with the Country genre but those fans won’t stay the course and won’t buy tickets to shows. ‘Coming Back to Me’ is THE impact song on this CD, both live and on CD. It is musically innovative and gives Carolynne the chance to show what a quality singer she is. She has a voice that carries depth, passion and emotion and ‘Coming Back to Me’ highlights those qualities all in one 3 minute Country pop song.
Very often when UK artists sing Country other things get in the way. Sometimes Folky or Celtic overtones creep in, sometimes honky-tonk bar room comes off more like a Chas n Dave ‘knock about’ on the piano but with ‘Coming Back to Me’, Carolynne has staked a place for herself within the scene as a quality artist in the Carrie Underwood mould – fiery at times, tender at others. Her use of lyrical imagery and Country instrumentation bring an authenticity to this release that can’t be faulted and I hope she backs it up with some tour dates and makes a name for herself on the live circuit because there is plenty on this CD that suggests she has the potential to be that next UK break-out act following in the wake of The Shires and Ward Thomas. Competition for that accolade, though, is fierce and she needs to be ready for all the highs and lows that such an effort may bring. ‘Coming Back to Me’ has all the hallmarks of a break-out release, so watch this space!
James Daykin: @rockjames on @twitter
EP released April 7th.