Sunday, January 11, 2015

CD: Ayla Brown - Heroes & Hometowns

Ayla Brown
Heroes & Hometowns

Pride of America 3:41 When the War is Over 3:08 My Hometown 2:54
It’s Just a Little Rain 4:41 Hero in Her Hometown 3:52 Fly Away 3:47
Angels we Have Heard on High 3:18 Silent Night 3:23 O’ Holy Night 4:31

Now that the holidays are over, it’s finally quiet. The monsters have all crept back into their own lives. Santa has retired for another year, sinking back into his bean bag lazy boy, flipping on the remote, staring into the HDTV(that he decided to keep for himself because someone attempted to hit him in the face with a snowball) at the faces and actions of each and everyone across the world, and just waiting for a whole new year to pass. Someone should really consider building the old man an app to handle this tedious task of figuring out who’s been “naughty or nice”.
For me, I try to just calculate how many years I’ve been here, or what day/week/month it is and how the ones I missed had come and gone without me realizing.
With all of the chaos at least I remembered I hadn’t written a review in a while, so I “disappeared” on numerous occasions into my headphones. As usual, I had never heard this woman’s name before, had no preconceived notions and once again was overjoyed. At this game of Russian Roulette I pulled the trigger and there was no bullet in the chamber, I had chosen the correct name off of my list of singers to review.
Pride of America brings you down into small town America. All of the things that bring out pride for members of a country town. From a boy working to save up for a Ford F-150 to little girls tying yellow ribbons around the trees because their daddies are coming home from serving overseas. It’s a song that really explains what the heartland is all about.
When the War is Over, opens up with a beautiful acoustic guitar. Then Ayla begins to sing which just adds to the strings. I really don’t think there is anyone, and I really mean anyone, who could listen to this and not think it’s one of the most beautiful songs they’ve ever heard.
Talk about shifting gears quickly, My Hometown, picks up the pace but describes her hometown. It really sounds like a lot of small towns that I know all across the south. Kinda brings up that warm feeling, but at the same time brings up a few places I’d like to visit again for a while.
It’s Just a Little Rain brings you down almost immediately using both the lyrics and music. The lyrics are about a mother that ha s a boy who wants to become a soldier. When he grows up he becomes one and goes off to war. When he is at war he is killed. This is a very powerful song that really makes you think. The symbolism between rain and tears is used to reinforce the emotion. Also, when she focus’ back on when he was a child at the end of the song tears at the heart.
Hero in her Hometown, holds the same theme as the rest of the album so far. It also seems to follow the pattern of slow song then quicker paced song. This time the hero is a homecoming queen and captain of the cheerleading squad who is revered as a hero. No one understands why she signs up to be a soldier. In order to prove it to the world outside of her small town she feels she must. Fly Away is another that follows the pattern. This time a sad ballad about a loved one who has died.
If the Christmas season is coming back around and you’d like some mood music or have an elevator than the last three songs are for you. Luckily for me I found this album at the perfect time.
I can’t say anything bad about this album. For a lot of the outside world by listening to this album it really paints a very different picture than the bright lights of New York City or the big screens of Hollywood which most people believe the country is all about. It may help people get an understanding of the regular Joe, or Jane. Ayla Brown is worth taking a listen to or at very least make note of. 

Jeremy Frost for Country Music News International Magazine
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