Thursday, May 28, 2020

Single Review - Made For Mornings - Lockeland

Was it really only March 2019 that Mark, Michael and Kyndon released their debut single, and only last summer that we were lucky enough to not only see them perform at Millport but also learn more about their personalities and sense of humour as we shared a giggle or three over breakfast each day.

Following a great guitar intro that has the Lockeland energy, Made For Mornings starts with almost a whisper, suitable for those that have just been woken up. The volume and the beat increase as we hear how the character of the song was a night owl.  It a great catchy chorus that will have you singing along the next time you hear it – “ I used to be a late night, party type, sippin’ on the high life, getting in at 5am, sleeping in till its night again…..”

Their intricate three-part harmonies can be clearly heard, especially on the “You”, laying the blame in the change in personality but without any resentment only admiration, it is after all a love song.

There is a lovely mix of instruments evident on the song, each taking their turn and then combining for the energetic chorus – the steel, the mandolin, the thump of the kick drum alongside the electric and acoustic guitars and Mark’s percussion underlying the whole track.

It’s a simple storyline as per Lockeland’s style, one that probably relates to most people even if your world hasn’t been turned upside down by another.

This song works in any setting. If you can’t enough of Lockeland find and follow them on Facebook and their website

Made For Mornings, the new single from Lockeland is available on all major platforms from 29 May  

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Single Review - Safest Place - Phoenix Morby

Phoenix Morby’s latest single Safest Place is very much on the folk side of country, the track features just his voice and an acoustic guitar with some little bits of electric guitar serving as a sort of “highlight” in places.  Phoenix’s singing style is very reminiscent of Bob Dylan, again with that folk edge to it.  It is deep, measured and quite soothing – which suits the feel of the song.

The lyrics use great imagery describing the feeling of being lost – “the roads you walk become crossed” “when the volcano erupts around you, your life is in a whirl” and the safest place in the world is in his arms – the singer is telling is that whenever we feel like we need some help, then he will be there ready to hold you to make you feel safe.  Its not about making things better, just about being there to support.

You feel like the singer is singing about something he has experienced – and perhaps the song is coming from a personal experience, it sounds genuine both inside and outside the story being told.

The song is a warm soothing hug, perhaps quite needed at the moment.

Safest Place, the new single from Phoenix Morby is available on all platforms from 29 May

You can find and follow Phoenix on Facebook  and his website


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Single Review - How Good You Are - Reya Jayne

How Good You Are has a mellow opening carried by the guitar and drum beat,  fitting for a warm summer's day, gentle, not rushed and lends itself to the story,then giving way and softening to allow Reya to start her story.  

The story is about a love, a partner who is so good for her but perhaps doesn’t realise it.  Our storyteller sure knows it, as does her mother – and in a nice Country style so does Grandma!  Its sometimes the little things that count – being there to tow her car, bringing her luck.  It’s a love story told from the point of view of one partner feeling so lucky, and the other not realising how appreciated they are.

Reya has a very high-toned voice, which rises during the song, perhaps in an effort to express her strong feelings, backed by a strong drumbeat and some lovely guitar inserts both with and separate to the vocal.

There is a lovely, calming verse, toward the end of the track, introduced by some wonderful keys where it feels like a deep breath before a final declaration of “How Good You Are” to end – with those keys finishing the track after Reya’s final, gentle repetition of that title theme.

The whole song gently carries you through the story...

How Good You Are, the new single from Reya Jayne is available on all major platforms from 29 May

Find and follow Reya Jane on Facebook 

Single Review - On The Line - Backwoods Creek

We know the Creekers like to give a big stage performance and that can be witnessed in the accompanying video to the latest single – On The Line.

Everything we have learnt to expect from the band is here. A big opening showing off their musical skills, a long stroke of the electric guitar grabs your attention before the catchy beat takes over.

In the video the boys have cleverly put together images from all of their gigs: Nash Nights, Buckle & Boots, Millport and Luna.

Silverball Country wants to say Goodbye and good luck to Jack and welcome George into the band; we saw you at New Year and think you have blended in perfectly albeit with the long hair 😉   High energy, good fun and friendship can be seen on stage, encouraging the audience to sing and dance along. 

The music mellows a touch as we hear Jamie’s vocals, he sings about nights out in the bar-room, but the band gives it the contradictory line “I’ve spent too many nights at home alone”.   

So, what’s on the line? it’s a relationship!

The character in our song, presumably coming home after a night out explains to his partner that he never looked at another, but he may have drunk too much whiskey, the call of Jack and Jim too strong to avoid.  He recognises all too late, he should have stayed home and he has jeopardised things.

A couple of instrumental sections punctuate the song, the skills of Yannick and Dean complementing each other. The electric guitar also help create the feeling of being a little drunk, the sound spins you around and become a little disorientated.

The repeated line “Our love is on the line” builds tension in the song, will something bad happen? The final time is excellently executed by Jamie with the full power of his voice and the rocky edge.

The song ends on the chorus, but despite the “it could have gone better” country storyline, you still feel upbeat. The Creeker Boys have a unique, authentic sound- different to everything else out there.

Nothing is on the line with this single, we are sure that you’ll want to be a CreekHead and catch a live show soon.  

On The Line, the new single from Backwoods Creek is available on all major platforms from 29 May

Find and follow the boys on Facebook, on their website and on Youtube to catch the new video

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Single Review - Nashville - Zoee

Australian born but UK based, Zoee is clearly no stranger to travelling – which is reflected in her latest single Nashville

A quite dark opening – do we detect a nod to Australian roots? – a plucked guitar and an almost staccato vocal set the foot stomping rhythm of the song. The raw edge means that you will stomp rather than tap your foot! This is picked up by the solid drum beat and the introduction of an electric guitar adding to that almost menacing undertone.  Even as Zoee’s vocal starts to climb the notes the rough edge is still there! The song itself shares that edge with The Civil Wars’ Barton Hollow.

No matter where she has travelled “from the Rockies down to Mexico” it seems that there is always a pull to Nashville, as it sounds like home and is of course considered the spiritual home for Country Music.

With the song being about Music City, not only is it to be used as the theme tune for Nashville Meets World but also the first 3 months of proceeds are being donated to the victims of the terrible Nashville Tornado Disaster in March.

Nashville, the new single from Zoee is available now to download and stream.

Find and follow Zoee on facebook and her website - or travelling to Nashville!

Friday, May 15, 2020

Album Review - Growing Old (Songs From My Front Porch) - John Jenkins

John Jenkins is releasing a new album with an old feel!  Growing Old (Songs from My front porch) has a theme running through it of reminiscing, of memories. The whole feel of the album reflects this, including the choice of instruments, with piano, soft violin, brushes on drums and strummed acoustic guitar.  In a modern world of Spotify and single-only releases an album such as this can be savoured as a whole piece of work, and allows the mood to flow through all of the tracks so that rather than being 12 songs (plus a bonus) it is essentially one piece telling a fuller story.  

Opening with Growing Old the tone is immediately set, and the tone of this song is cleverly set by the gentle, brushed drums ad words “I’m growing old” sung slowly, drawn out.  He’s looking back over his life; he doesn’t like growing old but he accepts it. Daniel White shows off John’s storytelling voice, continuing the theme of looking back, using an almost martial drumbeat to talk about Daniel White’s time in the military, the violin emphasising the emotion, as we are asked to consider looking at what used to be there.

Heartlands uses an old house for a metaphor for a life, a relationship and for moving on while A Mothers Devotion tells the story form a mother’s point of view wondering of she somehow affected how her son turned out in a way she didn’t want. The haunting mandolin in the long intro to this song lends a real folk feel.

The Mountain Between Us introduces the stunning voice of Siobhan Maher-Kennedy (River City People) as a couple discuss their relationship and the mountain that seems to be obstructing their happiness, with a wonderful upturn at the end as they agree to climb that mountain together.

Bear Lake County is a little more up-tempo, but about a guy with a past, a secret he is hiding from and a family he has lost – so he drinks, he works, and he hopes that someone will say a prayer “for his daddy’s son”. Dying By Inches is regretting a society where things always seemed better in the past and has a simply gorgeous harmonica solo, Jacksons Farm was the first single and the storyteller is looking back on a love, on a life, remembering how it was with memories all around him, while A Wiser Man Than Me sees our storyteller seeking advice from someone who has walked the same roads – but that man is himself in the mirror.

I’m almost Over You is a simple arrangement of a tale of getting over someone – but still missing their presence in your life and by contrast I’m Coming Home is an everyday story of a love that has lasted many years, with many memories but they are still together.  A reflective but uplifting song.  The album’s story ends with The Last Song  which, according To John’s sleeve notes, is actually inspired by a bird singing for its mate year after year – and yet it can so easily be about anyone who feels like they too are just whistling in the woods looking for whatever it is they are hoping for.  The flute on this track is simply superb.

Finally, we get to I Just Don’t Care (Bonus Track) - quite bouncy compared to the rest of the album!  A fun little song about not worrying about what’s happening in the wider music world, not poring over charts and festival listings and it makes for a fabulous encore on the album!

Growing Old (Songs From My Front Porch), the new album from John Jenkins is available on all major platforms from 15 May

Find John on Facebook, online and on his front porch...reminiscing and growing old!

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Single Review - My Kinda City - Danny McMahon

If you have seen Danny McMahon and his band play live, you’ll know that Danny is as much a showman as he is a singer, but with this new single My Kinda City he has dialled back the rock in favour of a thoughtful, descriptive song.  Don’t worry, it still has his trademark energy but he is reflecting on his travels and love.  In the song – and real life? – despite travelling the world, its good to have that one person that is a real anchor and no matter where you go and what you see, everything can remind you of and compare to that one person.  Comparing the best of towns and cities to the one you love is a nice take on a love song – a slight flip on Thomas Rhett’s “Die A Happy Man”!

The song opens with a country-pop flavoured drum and guitar intro before Danny’s recognisable vocals join.  As you’d expect from the team behind Puzzle Maker studios the song is well crafted and well produced, and while the vocal is very much centre stage the backing instrumentation is spot on, with some lovely little guitar inserts and  great drum rhythm – plus a guitar solo sneaking in at the three quarter mark!

Up-tempo, bouncy with a well thought out theme, this co-write with Nashville based Tyler Bank will surely be a solid addition to Danny’s live setlist – and of course we look forward to seeing Danny bouncing back onto stages in his own style!

My Kinda City, the new single from Danny McMahon is available on all major platforms from 15 May

Find and follow Danny and the band on facebook 

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Single Review - Is This Home - Stuart Landon

Like many of us, Stuart Landon is getting a bit fed up of being cooped up inside his four walls, so he’s written a song about it!  Not only has he written and recorded Is This Home, but he is putting it out only on Spotify so that everyone can stream it for free – a lockdown gift to us all.

For a song recorded in lockdown the production is great – and the sound is very much more like the sound of Stuart live, the raw and powerful edge to both his voice and the instrumentation – the keys, the guitar, the drums – especially the opening guitar licks that start the song off.

The song is about being locked in, but while it lists the issues of being “trapped inside” it isn’t a song of despair. The energy and the repeated line “I’m not alone” makes you feel the strength and that any form of lockdown isn’t necessarily forever.  Even when “the minutes feel like hours” there is still the hope of freedom!

Is This Home from Stuart Landon is available to stream on Spotify from 8 May
Find and follow Stuart on Facebook his website and of course, Spotify!

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

EP Review - Blown Away - Charlotte Young

It’s a brave decision to give your EP the same title as an album and song from a country great.  Is this intentional to grab out attention?

Charlotte has already grabbed attention when her debut single Whiplash went to number 1 in the UK iTunes Country chart.  She has quickly followed up with her EP of four songs, including that number 1.

The EP is about relationships in their various stages, with each song covering a different theme.  Charlotte fills her verses with words, as she clearly has plenty to say on the topics, and plenty to say to/about the guy in the relationships!  She balances this with catchy choruses and she certainly includes Country memes in her song writing.  Blown Away, the title track demonstrates this, using Sunday in the Chapel as a metaphor for the regularity with which she thinks of the guy that she just can’t let go of, it also shares the faster tempo of the first track Whiplash

Half A Bottle slows the pace with a gentle acoustic guitar intro and uses the half empty whiskey bottle as a symbol for a relationship that is over leaving just memories and regrets.  The fourth track Passenger Side is full of hope with those first kisses stolen at every moment in a new relationship that helps repair the past and allows you to look forward and dream, the slightly increased tempo reflecting that hopefulness

For a young Country singer songwriter, Blown Away is an impressive collection of works, and has been well produced by the team at Puzzle Maker studios and some great instrumentation, from the bass guitar that drives whiplash, the big drum intro to Blown away and the softer acoustic guitar in Half a Bottle – all well chosen to complement the tracks.  Charlotte’s voice is certainly recognisable, quite powerful but gravelly – perhaps whisky fuelled!

Blown Away, the new EP from Charlotte Young is available on all major platforms from 8 May.

Find and follow Charlotte on facebook 

Monday, May 4, 2020

Single Review - Get Wild - Donna Marie Songs

Whilst I’m not sure that we need a song that suggests “rules are meant for breaking” in this current situation,  we certainly need songs that can lift our spirits, and Get Wild, the new single from Donna Marie Songs is exactly that.

With a toe tapping, thigh slapping beat from the very first bar, you can’t sit still while listening to this absolute party track.

Co written with Emma Moore back in 2016 Donna Marie has picked exactly the right moment to pull this one out.  Even though festivals are becoming a fading hope this song conjures up the image of dancing in the barn while the band cut loose on stage – and it’s a traditional sounding band too – one is tempted to use the phrase “rootin’ tootin’” – with drums, guitar, banjo and strings expertly mixed and mastered by Patrick Jordan.

In fact this is possibly the perfect post lockdown song – reminding us as it does that 
if you want to have a good time, forget your worries and feel alright

Of course, Silverball Country reminds you to drink responsibly – we run a redneck bar, consider G&T to be a cocktail and don’t even stock ice; but we are happy to mix Music and Whiskey!

Get Wild, the new single from Donna Marie Songs is available to download and stream from all major platforms from 8 May.

Find and follow Donna Marie on facebook and her website, you can also see her livestreaming with her new joint project The Songs & Stories Collective

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Single Review - The Moment - Jade Helliwell

Starting with a “Need You Now” opening ,that simple piano, Jade’s half spoken, half sung intro sets the new song The Moment up nicely before launching into the chorus that can only be described as “big” – big vocals, big instrumentation.

The whole track showcases the sheer power and emotion in Jade’s voice as she questions whether she missed “the moment”. It’s a mix of memory, questioning and regret – and it so beautifully describes the torment of wrestling with the “should I have …” conundrum.

A whole relationship is packed into three and a half minutes, looking back at what might have been

But has she missed her moment with this guy? Will next time have to be someone else?  Only time can tell, but she has certainly learned a lesson.

The lyrics, the performance and the production of this track are all top notch, as we have come to expect from Jade Helliwell. It demonstrates Jades range and ability to cross genres, as this is heading into power ballad territory.  

If you are a fan of powerful female singers like Ingrid Andress, Danielle Bradbery or Tenille Arts then you are sure to love this track.

The Moment, the new single from Jade Helliwell is available now on all major platforms 

Find and follow Jade on facebook and her website

Single Review - Freedom - Tommy Atkins

Tommy Atkins new single has divided us at Silverball Country.  Having been at Wham’s final concert back in June 1986 Rik finds it difficult to listen to Freedom without hearing George Michael singing it in the very 80s pop style.

Francesca, being so much younger, and not such a Wham fan hears this as a song to listen to on the porch as Tommy has certainly made it into a country song.

Tommy himself describes it as “laden with fiddle and steel and harmonies.  It’s a real country heartbreak”

The guitar with the beautiful fiddle underneath is one of the best Country intros we’ve heard in a long time which is matched by Tommy’s soft vocals starting to tell us a story of love and heartache. 

As we approach the chorus we split again – with Tommy opting for the slowed down, rural style with the steel guitar underlining the country styling of this cover.

In comes the drum for the second verse and with it we pick up the pace getting Grandma rocking out of her chair.  Even a Wham fan will find themselves singing along at this point.  As the song progresses we move from porch to stage – taking us to the barn dance and Grandma back to her high school prom.  While the pace goes up, we are reminded that Tommy is singing this as a lament, and slows it back down to use the final chorus as a declaration of what he really wants – all he really wants is you.

This is a message that love is love, and Tommy hopes that it will appeal to the LGBTQ community in Country Music. For Tommy this is also a tribute to one of the greatest songwriters and his favourite Wham song.

Listen to this song on the porch or wearing your Choose Life T Shirt

Freedom the new single from Tommy Atkins is available to download and stream on all major platforms

Find and follow Tommy on facebook or his website