I know I’m late to the party on this album. It has been sitting in my stack of release to review since the beginning stages of my stack but, for some reason, it just never drew me in. Vicky Emerson’s ‘Steady Heart’ drew me in tonight. Maybe it was the title or maybe it was the cover of the album (both of which filled me with a sense of calm and optimism) but, regardless, it’s finally time to check out this nine-song album that came out over two years ago.
“In The Pines” really sets the tone for this album. The country styled music filled my house and warmed my heart within seconds. Vicky’s cool, calm, and collected voice is so full of heart that it’s impossible to not fall in love with in the first couple of words. Her voice is joined in with a full band creating the perfect dusty road ambiance that I’m not typically a fan of but am absolutely eating up tonight. Jake Armerding’s fiddle playing is absolutely stunning and just enhances the vibe that this song gives off. Again, this is not my typical cup of tea but this opening track made me so excited to see what else this album has in store for me.
Although only the second track, “Bird’s Eye View” was an instant favorite of mine. There’s something hopeful about the way Vicky sings in this track and, in this day and age, hope is something we could all use a little more of. Even though the vibe is hopeful, the lyrics are heartbreaking. “Rock bottom rolled out the welcome mat and my seat on this wreck is the only one with a birds eye view of the ground…” I mean, come on. That’s lyricism at it’s finest right there! The way those dark words are juxtaposed by the almost hopeful vibe is amazing to me and is the main reason this was an instant favorite.
Vicky’s voice shifts for “The Reckoning”. It’s still just as beautiful as on the previous two tracks but it seems to take a turn to something a bit darker and deeper. The song in general seems to take a more bluesy approach while still staying in the vein of country. This track showcases the versatility of Vicky and the various players on this album so perfectly. This versatility continues to shine with “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” which starts with a striking bassline and Vicky’s voice. This almost haunting intro drew me in and had me in the palm of Vicky’s hand throughout the three and a half minutes of this track. I loved the creepy vibe of this one.
I couldn’t find any lyrics written out for “Good Enough” but that didn’t stop me from falling for every single word that Vicky sang throughout this track. It’s clear by now that Vicky is an amazing vocalist but this track just proves how amazing of a lyricist she is as well. Her painfully real lyrics are beautifully conveyed throughout this track and it’s hard not to just get lost in the beauty of it all. That beauty is only emphasized as the album moves onto the title track, “Steady Heart”. Slow and steady, this track lulled me off to dreamland in the most perfect way. It’s late and it feels like a Thursday even though it’s only Tuesday. This was the perfect track for me to hear right now.
The sweet and heartful sound was quickly replaced by the blues-infused country sound that Vicky does so well when “Stone Cold” took over my speakers. The chorus of this track is so ear-wormy that I had to listen a couple of times before moving on just to be sure I wouldn’t keep the hook in my head and taint the remaining two tracks. I meant to listen to “Stone Cold” again but missed hitting repeat in time and accidentally let the album slip on to “Disappear” but that was a good mistake to make. “Disappear” shifts back to the heartbreaking lyrics that Vicky does so well and the tenderness she treats each note with comes to the forefront.
“The Boat Song” ends this beautiful album on a high note. This song seems to knock everything back down to the basics- Vicky’s gorgeous voice with a little emphasis on her southern twang and a simple sounding guitar. I normally hate when good albums end but, with an ending as good as this one, I really can’t complain that much.
It’s late. I’m tired. I’m crabby after having a bad day. I honestly didn’t even want to do another review but Vicky Emerson’s ‘Steady Heart’ was pleading to be reviewed tonight and thankfully I listened to my gut. What a gorgeous work of art.
My Favorite Track(s): “Bird’s Eye View”
For Fans Of: Subtle Country Twang; Pure Beauty
Daydream-ability: 7 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Artie played with the water dish; Autumn slept upstairs
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 6 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 7 out of 10
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