Love her music or hate it — you've definitely noticed Rachel Platten. Her debut single off this album, Fight Song, was pretty much impossible to avoid if you listened to the radio or had a general awareness of pop culture. And thanks to an opening spot on the "Girls Night Out, Boys Can Come Too" tour with Colbie Caillat and Christina Perri as well as promotion by Taylor Swift on her Twitter, her other music is getting noticed too. (She's nearly impossible to avoid if you listen to Coast 93.3 at all.) The songs on Wildfire range from deeply emotional to poppy and optimistic, with plenty of love songs thrown in the mix. I'm one of the people who loves her. (Track by track review after the Read More break.)
Lacey Caroline is one of the many female artists to come out of country music, but one of the few to come from a region that's not the South, and it shows in her music. Her second EP "One of the Guys" distinguishes her from the crowd, embracing a rock-influenced sound and highlighting her spunky personality.
Maren Morris is one of many up-and-coming female country singer-songwriters trying her hand at success in Nashville, but one of the few actually getting the success she deserves. She's written songs such as Kelly Clarkson's "Second Wind", and the music video for her debut single, "My Church", has over 2 million views on Youtube. Her first EP to come out on major outlets such as iTunes gives a taste of what's hopefully to come. There are several standout tracks, with the entire EP being written by well-known songwriters in addition to Morris herself.
The Y2K Mixtape is Kalie Shorr's first to be released through major outlets, as opposed to through her website, and is more of a proper album. Because of that, it's more produced than her first EP. It isn't quite as country as her previous EP, but that's to be expected, especially since she acknowledges that her music is a blend of country, pop and rock. Along with the single "Fight Like a Girl", the EP has more finished versions of two tracks that you might have heard on Kalie's Soundcloud ("Class of 2000" and "Break The Breakup").
Megan & Liz have had a tough road to success. Of course, there's the general sexism of the country "bro-country" takeover, which makes it hard for women to break into the country music genre. Then there's how they parted ways with their label two years ago. But they aren't letting anything like this deter them. With Deux, they're back, and showcasing their sound with an EP that's a combination of pop beats and country instrumentation and songwriting. Megan & Liz have finally found where they want to be in the country-pop continuum, and it works.
[Updated 3/12 with reviews of Beautiful Things and Hollow!]
Tori Kelly's had a long road to her debut album — an independent EP, a major label EP, elimination from American Idol and opening slots on tours for Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran. But with her debut album, blending acoustic songs, R&B and rap, it's evident that her record deal is well deserved, and American Idol made a mistake letting her go. (A side note — why are so many things leaking lately? Have some respect for the artists, people. I'm pretty sure it's easy enough to wait until it's officially released or officially available to stream.)
I've finally gotten a copy of this EP, thanks to a contest sponsored by Song Suffragette. If you don't know who they are, they're an organization created around the founding principle of putting more female country artists on the radio. Kalie Shorr is one of their more well known artists, and she's built up quite a following on Twitter and SoundCloud. This EP contains demos of some of her better known Soundcloud songs, as well as some less popular ones, and it was so exciting to finally get a copy.
The last time I reviewed Kelsea Ballerini, it was in November following the release of her debut EP. Since then, she's had her Opry debut, headlined a CMT Next Women of Country tour and become much more prominent due to a tweet from Taylor Swift. Safe to say, she's becoming something pretty big, and she thoroughly deserves it. I preordered the album, which I really don't usually do (I've only preordered two albums that I've reviewed on this blog before) and it was an excellent decision.
I recently saw Lori McKenna in concert when she was promoting her latest album, Numbered Doors, and since I bought a signed copy of her album and talked to her, I figured I'd review her album on my blog. I've previously reviewed songs she's written with other artists on this blog, such as RaeLynn's God Made Girls and Caitlyn Smith's Everything to You and Grown Woman. She, Liz Rose and Hillary Lindsey make up a songwriting trio called the Love Junkies. Her own album is much less produced, but maintains the beautiful lyrics and music I've come to expect from songs co-written by her. Also, this album makes me cry. And it takes a lot to make me cry over music, for the record.
Katrina Stone is one-half of the Americana/singer-songwriter group The Likes of Us along with Benj Heard. She's created a lot of music on her own, too, and is frequently featured on the music-sharing site Noisetrade. I didn't really follow her solo career, but when I received a newsletter about her new project, I thought I should check it out. Generally, I've found her songwriting to be hit-or-miss, but this project is certainly a hit.
About the Blog
Fountain Pen Girl Album Reviews is a blog writing track-by-track reviews of new popular and independent music with a focus on female artists. The main genres that are covered on this blog are pop, country, singer-songwriter and alternative music, focusing especially on independent artists and female country artists. Enjoy my blog!
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