Last year, around this time, I read an article which listed upcoming Country artists to watch out for in 2016 and they were certainly right about one of the acts, Tucker Beathard. What a year it has been for the son of Nashville songwriter Casey Beathard, who got signed to Dot Records, an imprint of Big Machine and released his first single which peaked at number 2 on the Country airplay charts. His debut EP “Fight Like Hell” was released back in October and his UK tour was a huge success. So if you’re unsure whether to ask Santa Clause to pop a copy in your stocking well read on to find out what I thought about it!
The album opens with “I’ll Take On The World With You” and the first we hear of Tucker is actually quite unusual as at the beginning of the verse there is an effect on the vocals which almost muffles the sound. The lyrics are detailed and I like the acoustic guitar riff going from the chorus back into the verse. There’s some nice production throughout in fact, some unique, subtle techniques which bring the record to life. In the second track, and Beathard’s first single “Rock On” it is once again his vocals that strike me but for a different reason, it’s in this track I notice he has a sort of gravelly tone to his voice and it’s mature for his age. It isn’t only his vocals that stand out for me though, he shows us that he too knows how to write a Country hit just like his Dad. “20-10 Tennessee” uses metaphors throughout to tell this love story and it isn’t only the lyrics that are done well in this song, I love that pedal steel and the backing vocals do a great job.
The instrumentation throughout the EP is just what you’d expect from a Country record but I do think that the use of backing vocals throughout is what takes some of these songs to the next level. For example in “Home Sweet USA” it is the backing vocals that help those melodies at the start of the chorus to soar. On first listen the bridge felt a little disconnected to the rest of the song but it has begun to grow on me. It uses a common theme which we hear often in Country music but you’ve got to love their patriotism. It is this penultimate song though that is my favourite, “Momma and Jesus” is in my opinion a beautiful and honest concept. The lyrics are well thought out and really tell a story, I love the line “crushing out love like a cigarette.” They picked a great song to close on though, the title track “Fight Like Hell” which is an uplifting track along the same vein of Dierks Bentley’s “Riser” and Tucker once again shows he can write a cracking melody, as that chorus really sticks with you.
In a nutshell this is a fantastic debut from this young songwriter that seems to have a vast skill set, his vocals and his writing has a maturity about it but it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t know how to have fun. If you haven’t sent your wish list to Santa yet, make sure you add this to the bottom, or in big letters at the top, I think it’s a must and I’m sure next year we’ll hear even more great things from Tucker Beathard.
Just a quick reminder to all my readers that you can still vote for Best of British Country Music in the UK Blog Awards. Voting closes on Monday morning and all you have to do is click this link below and follow the instructions. Thank you!