added: 5 Jan 2014
// release date: 2 Feb 2014 // label:
reviewer: Daniel Davidson-Amadi
There will always be a place in this diverse industry for alternative country artists to thrive and reach a healthy following of appreciators. Heidi Howe - the diminutive figure from Louisville, Kentucky – doesn’t entirely look like your archetypal girl next door (what with her noticeable tattoos and edgy-practically-punk style) but she exudes the typical homely charm of the country genre in her latest album, ‘Be Good’. Sure the image and the music are largely incongruous on so many levels but this only adds to the mystique of the enigmatic singer-songwriter.
The album exhibits Howe’s beautiful vocal range, extending from the soft to booming but always melodic throughout. She’s like Dolly Parton, Iris DeMent and Natalie Maines wrapped up into one, plucking away at a cherry red guitar that is almost the same size as she is and delivering a classic demonstration of authentic Americana that proves timeless. She has opened for numerous recognisable names within the alternative country scene including Billy Joe Shaver, Rosie Flores, Stacey Earle and Todd Snider who many have already likened her to. Evidently, she has harnessed her experiences from such encounters and garnished it into her music masterfully.
Themes of love, loss and compassion are melded into ‘Be Good’ but, true to the art form, the lyricism of the songs are far more multifarious and sober than you would likely get from a pop artist. Howe has the coveted combination of a soothing tone and interesting views and stories that make her material easy to listen to and completely relative to people the world over.
Heidi Howe’s ‘Be Good’ is the product of a well-travelled musician with many marketable facets to her personality that make her music so attractive. These days, there is a place in the mainstream for an album like this as people tend to favour abiding instrumentalism over technologically-enhanced laziness. This 11-track album is the eighth studio album that she has produced and this level of know-how more than shows in her work.
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