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| 19 June 2020 | Reply

Label: Warner Music Group

Release Date: June 19, 2020

Rating: 98%

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

I love a good song that has cool instrumentation, a great riff, awesome vocals, and one that not only has a driving beat that hooks you, but tells a story that digs deep and draws you in.  The lead single from Gabby Barrett’s debut release has all of those pieces that made me listen over and over while I waited to get my hands on more music.  Each song on the release has different things that add to the foundation of the that track.  Disc opener and lead single “I Hope” is one of those songs that gets your foot tapping while you dance slightly where ever you are.  The vocal is smokey and thick, perfectly delivering the emotionally charged lyric… a lyric that hits each of us hard.  Maybe in different ways, but hard nonetheless.  This track is a keeper in my rotation that will be around for a long time.  “Thank God” follows and is a killer track that has a great vibe and sound swirled in the mix that support Gabby’s vocals.  There is something about her vocals that grabs my attention at each turn.  The slight twang woven into her delivery adds punch tot eh track and disc overall.  This is a great track to follow the opener, as it creates a powerful one-two punch sonically.  “Footprints on the Moon” has great guitar to open but the real star of this track is the solid vocal that demonstrates Barrett is no one trick pony.  She flexes her vocal muscles without forcing the sound or vibe.  Be sure to check out the killer guitar riff tossed into the bridge before she punctuates the song with another round of the killer chorus, which also has smoking riffs taking us to the close of the song.  Title track “Goldmine” is self-describing in that the discs center point is a definite goldmine of sound and variation, although this is the lone track not co-penned by Barrett.  The different groove of the rhythm section swirled with the different guitar contributions take us in a different direction, but the vocal from Gabby is amazing and allows her to deliver the smokey sound that has been incorporated into each track along with a searing vocal on the chorus that takes this to the next level, as does her duet with the lead guitar riff through the bridge.  “Jesus & My Mama” brings her country swagger to the forefront with a big vocal sound mixed with some chugging riffs, and a solid bottom end from the bass and drums.  The vocals have attitude and deliver with each note, whether sung straight or delivered with twang.  Another great riff tagged with vocals dot the bridge.  “Got Me” has a milder sound and feel to it, thanks to the ballad-like quality of the track.  This song features Shane & Shane helping deliver the goods on this one.  Gabby’s vocals are a sweet combination of light and airy coupled with a touch of deeper range on the verse.  When the duet kicks in, the song shifts gears a bit sonically without deviating from the original feel of the track.  A bonus on the collection is a collaboration on “I Hope” that features Charlie Puth.  While a good listen, I prefer the original as I am a big fan of Gabby’s bigger vocals.

“Write It on My Heart” unfolds with a beautiful piano interlude that is soon built out musically with some guitars and rhythm section all creating a solid foundation for the song. while allowing Barrett’s voice to soar in the mix while driving home the lyric.  The songs construction creates a perfect ebb and flow of sound and emotion.  “You’re the Only Reason” has a different groove as the song opens, but this track comes off as equal parts country and pop with a little R&B-ish vibe sprinkled in for good measure.  This song lets Gabby show off a different side of her song writing and singing without deviating form the path cut by the other tracks on the collection.  The layered vocals that support the bridge while she soars above the mix gives this track depth.  “The Good Ones” slows the pace and gives us a great look and listen to the other side of the coin from the sentiment of “I Hope.”  The musical component is contagious and draws you in allowing you to enjoy the vibe of the track while the catchy chorus begs you to sing along before you have made a full pass through the track.  “Hall of Fame” maintains a slower cadence and groove and gives us a minute to catch our collective breath and enjoy the ride.  Gabby’s vocal helps show her range as the song moves from open to close, especially when she runs the scales on the choruses and transitions.  There are hints of pop sensibility tossed into the country DNA of this one, giving it a sweet sound and feel.  “Rose Needs a Jack” comes at you with vocals and a bit of guitar and has a cool rhythm to it that makes the song seem familiar without sounding overdone or rehashed… I keep trying to put my finger on the song this one reminds me of.  The softer groove of this track helps equalize the disc between upbeat tracks and ballads, with a song that hits somewhere in the middle.  Disc closer “Strong” keeps the mood milder, while keeping the feel and groove of the entire disc alive and upbeat.  Barrett’s vocals stand out on this track thanks to the piano and rhythm accompaniment that float in the background, coming in and out as necessary to help drive the track home.  This disc is my hands down favorite debut of the year and I cannot wait to enjoy this disc over and over all summer long… and beyond!

Tracklisting: I Hope – Thank God – Write It on My Heart – Footprints on the Moon – You’re the Only Reason – Goldmine – The Good Ones – Jesus & My Mama – Hall of Fame – Got Me (feat. Shane & Shane) – Rose Needs a Jack – Strong – I Hope (feat. Charlie Puth)






Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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