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The Singles Lowdown With Gerald Stansbury

Haleigh Martin - ‘Like A Lady’ and ‘Magnolia Lane’ (Self-Released)

New country artist Haleigh Martin hails from Kentucky and has started putting out her own singles. She hits gold with ‘Like a Lady.’ She takes advantage of a groove and adds a slippery wink of an eye vocal over the top like someone who has been doing this since birth. ‘Magnolia Lane’ adopts a bluesier feel with Martin laying down another excellent vocal. The minimal instrumentation of just an acoustic guitar allows the spotlight to shine on the soulful bluesy vocal. I wish the song had some more peaks and valleys musically, but this is another strong debut recording by Martin. She is on my list of ones to watch closely.

Will Hoge - ‘Gilded Walls’ and ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ (EDLO/ Thirty Tigers)

Will Hoge has released two songs from his upcoming album ‘My American Dream’ out on October 5th. Up first is ‘Gilded Walls’ which lays down the gauntlet immediately that Hoge is still pissed off at what is happening in America with these sharp lyrics directed at our president. This hard country blues rocker is excellent from the distorted guitar to the hooks. The building crescendo near the end is perfect. Other new song ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ directly addresses mass shootings here in America with the same venom as ‘Gilded Walls,’ which leaves me excited to hear the whole album. This acoustic rocker lashes out at the politicians who believe thoughts and prayers are the only answer as they say it is not the time for an actual discussion because the tragedy is too fresh, only to then have another tragedy on our hands.

Bri Bagwell - ‘If You Were a Cowboy’ and ‘I Can’t Be Lonely’ (Ruby Reds Records)

Bri Bagwell has been working the Texas circuit for many years and has done a terrific job of carving out her own identity in what is often perceived to be only a male market. These two songs from her upcoming album ‘In My Defense’ (out September 21st) should get people excited for what is to come. ‘If You Were a Cowboy’ showcases a hook, some dynamic vocals, and would be a Country radio contender if women could get some breaks with radio programming. ‘I Can’t Be Lonely’ is my favorite of the two here with this genuine country song hitting all the right notes. The mix allows all the instruments to shine with Bagwell’s vocals showing tenderness and strength.

Soraia - ‘Still I Rise’ (Wicked Cool Records)

Fresh off ‘Dead Reckoning’ being my 2017 Album of the Year, Soraia returns with a two track single. ‘Still I Rise’ really does not sound anything, to my ears, like what was on their last album and took me a few listens for it to click, but it then dug its hooks deep into my soul. The verses remind me a bit more of an 80’s rocker with the chorus coming more from Jefferson Airplane. The keyboards add a ton of nuggets texture, and the guitar solo from Mike Reisman adding even more texture. This is a deceptive chorus that I catch myself singing two days later now. On the flip side is a tremendous cover of the New York Dolls classic ‘Trash,’ which begins recalling a 50’s era ballad complete with killer backing vocals. ZouZou dominates this one and shows why she is becoming one of my favorite singers. She sings with a power and attitude here that simply exudes confidence. Soraia’s musical chemistry continues to get even better somehow.

Dr. Boogie - ‘Bad Situation’ and ‘I Need a Gun’ (Self Released)

Speaking of Albums of the Year, Dr. Boogie had that honor for me back in 2015 and have released a few singles since that time. ‘Bad Situation’ finds the band continuing their excellent hard Rock ‘n’ Roll style that recalls the likes of the Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, and the New York Dolls. Timeless music that needs to be heard. ‘I Need a Gun’ ramps up the tempo a bit more, and I love the piano work here. Hopefully a new album is in the cards as the band remain on fire.

Radkey - ‘St.Elwood’ and ‘Basement’ (The Century Family, Inc.)

Radkey appeared on my radar back when they released full length ‘Delicious Rock Noise’ containing the awesome song ‘Dark Black Makeup.’ Power pop rocker ‘Basement’ finds the band hitting another winner as this hook heavy song reminds me a bit of a combination of the Ramones and Weezer. Dee Radke has really developed as a singer over the years in terms of carving out his own identity. On ‘Dark Black Makeup,’ there was a definite Danzig feel, but I think he has truly found his own voice now. ‘St. Elwood’ equally ramps up the anticipation for album #2. This catchy rocker also deserves to be on the radio as Radkey with its insurgent chorus compelling the listener to get on with things in life.

Reviews - Gerald Stansbury

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