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Steve Holy – “Until the Rain Stops”

Songwriters:  Matt Jenkins, Matt Ramsey, Trevor Rosen

Poor Steve Holy.  Will the almighty radio gods ever figure out what to do with him?  His vocal talent is indisputable, yet his periods of chart success have been extremely sporadic, with his three Top 20 hits to date being interspersed throughout five-year periods. He reached number one with “Good Morning Beautiful” and “Brand New Girlfriend” in 2001 and 2006, respectively, and inched all the way up to #19 with last year’s slow bloomer “Love Don’t Run.”

Time will tell if “Until the Rain Stops,” the second single from his Love Don’t Run album, will break his trend of on-again-off-again hitmaking.  If he fails to score a hit, it won’t be for lack of effort, but that’s not necessarily a compliment.  With “Until the Rain Stops,” Holy sounds like he’s reaching for the top of the charts with all his might, offering a thickly polished single that sounds determined to fit in between Blake Shelton and Jason Aldean on any FM radio playlist.

In the end, however, that’s what ultimately causes the song’s downfall.  It’s entirely too obvious that the single aspires to be nothing more than radio filler, with a recycled country-lite arrangement and universally inoffensive lyric.  Incidentally, this particular song concept has been done before, not to mention done much better, by Radney Foster’s “Raining On Sunday,” popularized by Keith Urban.  “Until the Rain Stops” comes off as a tired retread with a deathly uninteresting title hook, such that even Holy’s vocal makes him sound bored by the song’s aggressively mediocre lyrical content.

Will it become a hit?  It might, or it might not – You can never tell with Steve Holy.  But even if it does, it will not change the fact that becoming a radio hit is the song’s sole purpose of existence, as it’s clearly not built to last.  Steve Holy’s vocal talents would be best used on a song whose appeal lasts beyond its three-minute duration.

STEVE’S SCORE:  4
(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Amber Hayes, "Wait"

The storyline behind FUNL Music recording artist Amber Hayes’ latest single might not seem particularly interesting at first glance.  Girl meets guy at a coffee shop.  They’re about to part when the girl is overcome by the feeling that this encounter could be the beginning of something deeper, and she implores him to “Wait… It might sound crazy/ I’m thinking maybe we could talk and talk all day.”

The concept could easily have wound up a bore, but Amber sells it with her performance.  Her vocal delivery is tight and focused, but it also carries an air of longing, which is very appropriate for the sentiments her character expresses.  She acknowledges that the likelihood of this chance meeting blossoming into romance are relatively slim.  “It’s a million to one,” she admits.  “But…” she suggests, “Let’s take it anyway!”  She is motivated not only by attraction alone, but by the knowledge that she would never know what might come to fruition were she not to take such a chance.  She desires “to find out if this spark really is a flame.”  One could interpret this as underlying message that even if her aspirations are ultimately unfulfilled, she would still have the vindication of knowing that she did not simply let the opportunity pass by.

The production, notably pop-friendly in comparison to Amber’s often traditional-leaning style, pulses along energetically as if to urge the character on.  Though a song like “Wait” could have seemed like a potentially boring or even fluffy concept, competent execution and a strong performance make this single a broadly enjoyable slice of pop-country fun.

AMBER’S SCORE:  8
(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)

HEAR IT ON AMBER’S OFFICIAL WEB SITE

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

David Nail, "Let It Rain"

Thus far, David Nail’s radio offerings have generally shared one common strength – a strong and focused vocal performance – as well as one common flaw – bombastic production.  The critical point is often whether or not the song itself is coherent enough to overcome the flaw while highlighting the strength.  We definitely found that to be the case with his previous hit “Turning Home.”  “Red Light”?  Not so much.

“Let It Rain” isn’t the first country song to tackle a theme of cheating and heartbreak, nor is it the first to use rain as a metaphor.  But an important part of what makes the song work is its inclusion of personalized details that flesh out the story, which helps the song to distinguish itself from the many other variations of the same theme.  David reveals the cause of his heartache – a happy marital relationship shattered by one regrettable night of unfaithfulness.  “Seven years of good can’t hide the one night I forgot to wear that ring,” he laments.

The melancholy lyric draws out a powerful and emotive vocal from David.  To his credit, he is able to cut through the loud pop-country production without resorting to wild and unwieldy LeVox-esque vocal theatrics.  Another major plus is the audible sound of Sarah Buxton’s distinct and beautiful voice on background vocals, which contrasts nicely against David’s smooth and masculine lead vocal. 

It’s not without it’s weaknesses, but a solid lyric and a believable performance make this single an overall success.

DAVID’S SCORE:  7
(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)

HEAR IT

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Ronnie Dunn, "Bleed Red"

Ronnie Dunn has one heck of a good singing voice. That much is made obvious by one listen to any of those platinum selling Brooks & Dunn records. Ronnie’s first post-Brooks & Dunn single finds him still in fine voice. “Bleed Red” is a pop-infused power ballad that calls for world peace and reconcilation of makind. It makes its point through emphasis of the fact that all men share the same inherent weaknesses and struggles. It’s a strong sentimet, and it’s definitely a timely one. Ronnie’s stellar vocal radiates his conviction in the song’s message. The song also has a hook that adequately sums up its point: “We all bleed red, all taste rain, all fall down…”
 The sentiment, however, is weighed down by a dull and repititive melody that sounds like the same few notes played over and over and over again. While the chorus isn’t bad, the verses never rise above the typical generality of such heavy power ballads as this. Then before long, along comes an all-too-predictable development. Three… two… one… BAM. Cue overdramatic string-laden finish.

Ronnie’s predictably strong vocal performance anchors the song enough to keep it from being a total wash, but the sum of its part still ends up a disappointment. The song’s notable strong point is ultimately nullified by the weaknesses that weigh against it. Thus we are left with a strong performance of a song that just doesn’t pull enough weight to make it a keeper. The concept could have made for a very good song, but the end product is a song that gets very old very fast.

RONNIE’S SCORE:  5
(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)

HEAR IT ON RONNIE’S OFFICIAL WEBSITE

 
3 Comments

Posted by on February 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

 
 
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