CD REVIEW: Ann Claire - Honkeytonk Princess
By: Cyrus Rhodes
"a marquee talent"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST-
Label: Prosody Records, Villa Mallorca Music
Genre: Modern Contemporary Country, Pop, Power Pop
Sounds Like: Reba MCentire, Dolly Parton, Shania Twain Kelly Pickler
Technical Grade: 10/10
Weakness: A few winded songs
Nashville based Singer/Songwriter Ann Claire releases her debut CD entitled Honkeytonk Princess in 2012. (Prosody Records, Villa Mallorco Music.) This is his debut release to date. For this release Claire teamed up with Grammy Nominated songwriter Travis Howard (Miranda Lambert) who acts as Co-Producer. CD produced by Maxwell Abrams.
The CD quickly takes flight with Track 1 “Better Girl” a passionate intro piece that serves up driving rock rhythm, against an inviting vocal groove and well placed harmonies from Claire. Track 2 “Dark Horse” is an impressive follow-up piece that serves up impressive R&B and slide guitar licks, thought provoking lyrical content against a grand slam chorus. This track features impressive vocals from Travis Howard. Track 3 “Lucky Me” keeps thing moving in the right direction with its slamming fiddle intro, infectious groove and heartfelt vocal delivery that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. As this CD slowly unfolds would classify this music as a very marketable Modern Contemporary Country with a Power Pop edge. Comparables are Reba MCentire, Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, Kelly Pickler, Kerri Underwood, and even Leann Rimes. The production quality is impressive and the musicianship of everyone involved is clearly above the bar. Along the way you will notice lush instrumentation with things like accordion, lap steel, mandolin, fiddles, piano, organ, keyboard accents, horns, banjo, slamming guitar licks and solos, combined with lush vocal harmonies layered everywhere. The rhythm section pushes the natural accents well. Now turning our attention over to Claire - as for her vocal abilities she has an impressive and entertaining soprano with notable falsetto and vibrato delivery. Her voice also works well within the confines of this power pop/country catalogue. Reading her bio: Ann Claire has poured her heartbreak, hopes, and dreams into these songs. This debut CD from Claire provides 12 tracks all providing an interesting snapshot of an impressive artists with music that provides thought provoking wisdom, and messages that are uplifting, positive and carefree. From heartfelt “Good Enough”, “Way that I Do” and “If I Leave Here Tonight” to compelling “Here to Come” to the rocking “Let’s go to Mexico” title track to catchy “Go with Me” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 12: “Somewhere” the perfect finale statement for a catalogue like this. There’s even a bonus DVD entitled The Story, The Dream, The Reality which features interviews and footage of the making of the record. All of this makes for a fully loaded production package.
It’s hard to find any noticeable weaknesses with this CD> All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line.
From start to finish this debut release from Ann Claire is an impressive collection of music. The music is highly marketable, uplifting, and very entertaining. The songwriting - an impressive snapshot of a marquee artist. All songs are consistent musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair and signature groove. Note for note, song for song this catalogue is extremely consistent and professional. At the end of the day Ann Claire is a artists worthy of attention, spotlight and praise.