By Hannah Compton
It’s funny because I went in to this album thinking that I wouldn’t like it. I certainly did not expect to love it and I am pretty ashamed of myself for not giving Wynonna Judd the credit she deserves. Not knowing much of her previous music and only knowing her by name and face, I can only judge her musically by this one album for now.
Firstly, this album really is a BIG noise, but in such a great way. There is so much instrumental goodness in this album, especially in the guitar and bass area, which makes this album exciting, fun and deliciously easy to listen to, I am excited writing about it.
Wynonna, as most will know, is a true power house vocally and she sounds killer on every track. Her voice is so above and beyond many artists who are topping the charts currently that it is a dang shame she isn’t charting with them because quite frankly, she should be.
Wynonna’s vocal strengths and abilities match the sounds of a her band well as they both escalate as the songs go on and there is no way that any instrument can ever overshadow her voice.
Wynonna pulls is many genres in her voice and most of the album shows a sultry, Jazzy and earthy tone to her vocals. I can only imagine how ridiculously good it would be to see a stage performance with her band behind her. I would also love to see her perform with a big band as her voice would fit perfectly in big band setting in a place such as The Royal Albert Hall.
When a vocalist grabs me, they really grab me and I will certainly be more attentive to any future music Wynonna should produce.
As an artist who has been around for a while and leans more on the traditional side – this album fits in with the modern stylings of Country music today as Wynonna brings a new and fresh sound to the old style of country making it current, relevant and a ‘must have’ in any music fans collection. This album is not only gripping but mind bowing and addictive and has an energetic feel throughout. I just cannot get enough of it.
The majority of the album is up tempo with loud, fun, instrumentation and exciting beats that uplift your energy right away. There are more mid tempo and down tempo tracks too.
The album kicks off with Ain’t No Thing which was the track that reeled me in. The intro has an instant up beat appeal and there is a strong performance from the guitar which hosts an element of Eric Clapton. The song also brings in a little bit of the stylistics of Moloko from the album The Time Is Now.
Cool Ya’ – is an exciting up tempo Jazzy, Bluesy number which has that smoky Jazz bar feel to it. It has a great toe-tapping beat. Wynonna’s vocals are slick, wicked and well…cool ya’!
Things That I Lean On – a stunning ballad which draws so much emotion vocally and musically and has so much beauty in it’s melody that I find myself listening to it in total silence, no distraction.
You Make My Heart Beat Too Fast – This track has a funk, soul style to it. I really love Wynonna’s voice during this song as it has a strong, sassy, attitude feel to it which translates very well.
Staying In Love – has a somewhat nineties vibe to it, think of artists such as Brand New Heavies and M People amongst many more. This is a very catchy, fun lovin track and one I imagine being played on country radio. It has a chanting chorus which makes you throw your arm in the air pointing your finger.
Keeps Me Alive – a dark, old folk-country style track with a haunting, eerie, echoing sound vocally and musically throughout. Wynonna hits a really high note towards the end during a brilliant guitar solo which gives the song that bit more edge.
Jesus and a Jukebox – a beautiful song with honest and sad yet sweet lyrics. I interpreted this song as being about Wynonna’s grandparents. The lyrics describe an old man dealing with the loss of his wife and how faith and music help you hold on and let go at the same time in the best ways possible when you lose someone.
I Can See Everything – another Jazzy – Blues song but more slow to mid tempo. The chorus is really nice and breezy with a hypnotic vibe.
Something You Can’t Live Without – a nice almost spaghetti western with a twist of eighties intro. Starts off slow then you are surprised with a catchy, upbeat chorus.
You Are So Beautiful – a great blues guitar intro with a very smoky, sultry Jazz start vocally.
Every Ending (Is A New Beginning )– one of my favourites off the album. A very inspirational song with deep and meaningful lyrics which are very uplifting. The melody is really pretty with a pleasantly sweet and charming chorus which is easy to sing along to and in a feel good way.
Choose To Believe – a good track to end the album on. It has that end of album feel as the song is kind of a song that fades out. A sleepy but nice Country-Jazz tune.
This album deserves so much more credit and attention. Please don’t overlook it, it is worth a listen and is one of my favourite albums of 2016.
Stand out tracks: Every Ending (Is A New Beginning), Ain’t No Thing, Staying In Love, Things That I Lean On.
Wynonna & The Big Noise by Wynonna & The Big Noise