I had the pleasure of seeing Karyn perform on Saturday night and I picked up her self-titled CD, a nine-track collection, also available through iTunes.
Ms. Rochelle is a phenomenal young singer and songwriter and has put out an album of very strong music and has done a great job of keeping the music country. I shouldn’t be surprised as she is part of Garth and Trisha’s camp. Rochelle also co-wrote Sunny Sweeney’s “From a Table Away” and Kellie Pickler’s “Red High Heels,” both of which she performed Saturday evening, along with two tracks off of her album.
“Jezebels” is a number reminiscent of some early Miranda Lambert material, criticizing the woman who her man is sneaking around with. During the song, she addresses that she’ll deal with her lover as well, but right now, she wants the woman to get away, remarking that “there’s a special place in hell for Jezebels like you.”
Two songs on the album deal with forms of abuse. “Help Me Mama” directly addresses physical abuse while “Who’s Gonna Love Me” takes a broader approach. It addresses both physical abuse and emotional abuse from the perspective of a young girl confronting her father. During the song, she sings “Daddy why do you hurt my mama, why do you let me see those things don’t you know if that is what you teach me I’ll grow up and let someone do the same.”
“Summers Like That” is a song reminiscent of Kenny Chesney’s “I Go Back” and Lady Antebellum’s “And the Radio Played,” and perhaps to a lesser extent, Trisha Yearwood’s own “The Song Remembers When.” It is a song which uses titles of songs which hold a special significance to the singer and what they meant to her in a certain summer. It is easily one of the best songs I’ve heard which utilizes this technique.
The final two tracks of the album are “Let the Wind Chase You” and “I Wish He’d Been Drinking Whiskey.” The latter, along with “Better Off” is one of the best songs in the collection, in which the singer recounts the man who gave up drinking for her, and then when he tells her he no longer loves her, she wishes he’d been drinking so she could deny the truth of what he was saying.
While no song on the album is bad, perhaps the only track that misses its mark is “As Long As You’re My Man.” While there’s nothing wrong with the song in particular, in an album as inspired as this one is, this song comes off as slightly plain. Nothing about the song is particularly memorable or overly engaging.
One of the other great aspects of this album is the production. Rochelle co-produced the album with Daniel Dennis. The never once suffers from any over-production. It lets the music speak for itself.
I can’t recommend this album enough. I hope country radio gives Karyn Rochelle a shot, because more great female artists are needed in the landscape right now, especially ones who can put out music with great substance. Touring with Garth and Trisha should definitely help her.