Steady Heart – Vicky Emerson (reviewed by T. Bebedor)

I think it’s fair to say, without the risk of sounding sexist, that the album currently playing on my stereo is one written by a female and largely intended for a female audience. It’s true that within most arenas of creativity, be it books, films, television shows or music that if you can capture the female audience, you’ve got a hit. We all remember the fuss surrounding the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ books, and ‘The Greatest Showman’, a film released quite recently, panned by critics but audiences loved it.

Women seem to do what their male counterparts don’t, and that’s tell each other what they have seen or read or listened to, which, in turn, causes their friends, neighbours and work colleagues to search it out for themselves. It’s the definition of ‘word of mouth’, which, ask any marketing executive, is equally powerful and crucial to a project’s success. Word of mouth is stronger than any review or recommendation because it’s delivered by someone you trust.

So, being male, I feel at a slight disadvantage to give this album the review it deserves, but I’m hoping that I’ll give you enough information for someone to take the time to have a little search around on YouTube for videos or snippets of songs.

Vicky Emerson is a singer songwriter from Minneapolis who sings, plays guitar and took the decision to produce the album herself. Some might call this brave but there is a saying that no one knows how the song should sound better than the songwriter so what you get on this album are the songs presented the way she intended them to be. She’s surrounded herself with good musicians (Jake Armerding on fiddle has some lovely moments throughout the album) and has set about making a record that glows nicely, building an atmosphere of calm and it’s a compliment that her cover of Crystal Gayle’s ‘Don’t it make Your Brown Eyes Blue’ (reimagined with a bluesy, Peggy Lee’s ‘Fever’ twist) is possibly the weakest song on the album, showing that Emerson’s songs and arrangements stand up strongly.

It’s near impossible not to like her, she comes across warm, sensual and in control, this isn’t a collection of dull, downtrodden tunes, there are moments of hope, escapism and happiness, and there is a feeling of fun throughout the album. At times I would have liked to have heard the songs shift up a gear, give it a bit of fire under the vocals but this isn’t that kind of album, it’s an album to put on after a night out, when there is one last drink to pour and the night isn’t quite yet finished.

I’m interested to see where Vicky Emerson goes from here because it’s clear she can sing, play, write and produce so with this extra creative licence she could just be somebody to watch.

 

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