Winner of this year’s season four of America’s The Voice, 17-year-old Danielle Bradbery is without doubt one of the finest true young ‘country’ singers to have come along in quite some time. She only turned 17 in July, so much of this debut album was recorded whilst she was still just 16, yet she sounds so assured, mature and savvy for one so young. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really prepared when the first track Young In America, opened with a Dixie Chicks-styled fiddle and acoustic guitar. It caught me off guard, stopped me in my tracks and I stopped what I was doing so that I could listen closely to this youngster … and I found that I really liked what I was hearing. Next up is Wild Boy, an up-tempo airy teen romance yarn with a knowing vocal approach about the dangers of falling for such a guy. Again fiddle and steel guitar is much in evidence behind Danielle’s rich Texas vocal tones. The Heart Of Dixie, which has already scored on the American country charts, though surprisingly has failed to crack the top 20, though driven by fiddle, is closer to pop country … though one thing’s for sure, it’s a lot more listenable than say Carrie Underwood.
Danielle strays further into Underwood territory with the over-the-top I Will Never Forget You. Extremely sophisticated pop-rock: powerful electric guitar cascades, passionate and dramatic vocal washes, densely layered instrumentation and an undeniable hook. More to my liking is the jaunty Endless Summer. Lyrically, this covers territory that has been explored numerous times by various artists in the past. Nevertheless, Danielle’s winning delivery and the deft production make this an enjoyable outing. Daughter Of A Working Man is an acoustic joy with stunning fiddle and steel, and a genuinely heartfelt vocal performance. I’d like to think that this is the ‘real’ Danielle Bradbery. Unfortunately, this is not the kind of track that is likely to get played on America’s country radio, and I hope this youngster isn’t directed down the Underwood road, rather than the Kacey Musgraves one which is far better suited to her voice and personality. Danielle does have a distinctive voice and unique phrasing that never gets lost in the production and she is undoubtedly set for massive international stardom. An album well worth investigating, especially if today’s mainstream country is your bag. Oh, and the Deluxe Edition features four bonus tracks - Jesus Take The Wheel, Born To Fly, Maybe It Was Memphis and Who I Am - taken from her performances on the Voice.