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CD REVIEW: Breaking Southwest - Take a Moment (EP)

by: Cyrus Rhodes





Artist: Breaking Southwest

Album: Take a Moment (EP)
Label: Independent Artist

Genre: Modern Country, Americana-Pop
Sounds Like: Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban

Technical Grade: 9/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: Tell the Devil, Breathe, You and the Summer, Friday Night Lights
Weakness: Bright Mix, Somewhat Repetitive Catalogue, EP release


Since their formation in 2010, Breaking Southwest has continued to steadily grow in the North Texas area. They’ve played for 40,000+ people on New Year’s Eve outside the American Airlines Center in Dallas, they’ve rocked a packed house at The House of Blues in Dallas, they’ve opened for the likes of Kellie Pickler, Billy Currington, Stoney Larue, Johnny Cooper, Reckless Kelly, Roger Creager, The O’s, and many more. Their current single, “Reckless & Wild,” is being played on small market radio stations all across the southwest. With well over 100 shows behind them, Breaking Southwest has fined tuned their live performance to be a fun, high energy, rockin’ good time. And they strive to always leave the crowd wanting just a little bit more. Band members include  Kent Bell, Kyle Gaston, Shannon Ward, Bryan Meggison, Kerry West, Matt Aslanian, Joslin Dsouza. Their latest EP entitled “Take a Moment” Was released in early 2014.

The CD kicks things off with “Breathe” an impressive intro piece that serves up impressive country western dance groove against amazing vocals, well placed harmonies, and impressive musicianship to boot painted against a grand slam chorus. This first track is quite impressive as it peaks and valleys its way through musical fruition. Just when you think you go this due figured out “Track 2”Party Till’ Sunday” delivers a rocked out follow-up with infectious vocal feel and top flight harmonies and marketability aspects. Track 3 “Tell the Devil” is a methodical Americana-Rock ballad with thick rhythm, well placed harmonies and impressive writing style that lets it all hang out. As this EP slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical influences reminiscent of classic Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney and just a splash of Keith Urban. The music itself is a delightful blend of Modern Country and Americana-Pop to Rockabilly Blues that goes down extremely smooth song for song, note for note. The most impressive thing about this EP is the songwriting and the vocal from from Bell. The vocal timber of Bell is impressive and right on the money. He's got a young and effective visual as well. Bell takes some rather impressive vocal risks throughout the production indicating to me a very strong and confident vocal ability. The EP offers a rich melodic vocal foundation, coupled with lush layers of instrumentation. From rocked out guitar, fiddles, mandolin, pedal steel, impressive guitar solos, lush harmonies all built upon a thick as a brick rhythm section.  From heartfelt “You and the Summer” to uplifting “Raise a Glass” and “Rubber on this Road” to melodic “I Love Me to” this EP has something for just about everyone The EP ends with “Friday Night Lights” the perfect finale piece for a CD of this caliber. 

Mix is a but bright for my ears. These types of mixes are becoming more and more popular these days and are really meant to maximize radio marketability. But at the end of the day they are a real wear on the ears over time comparable to a bold font in your face. I wish there were at least one  slow and heart stopping song on this EP hat really showcased a close and impassioned  musical/vocal delivery. EP is a bit repetitive overall. I also typically deduct 1 start for EP releases. The full length release is the most complete vantage point to review an artists by at any given  point in time.

From start to finish “Take a Moment” is an impressive EP from Breaking Southwest no doubt. From start to finish it’s very passionate, uplifting, marketable and extremely melodic in nature. To say the least it's packed to the hilt with world class writing and  production touches and strokes. The writing, playing, and singing abilities of Bell and company is impressive and will be sure to lift your spirits without even trying. As the EP progressed I became more and more impressed with Breaking Southwest. The musicianship is first rate, the songs are short and sweet musical experiences. Each one possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. I look forward to hearing the full length later hopefully later on this Summer.

Cyrus Rhodes