Single Review Blast: 2011’s Artists to Watch

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In our first Single Review Blast of the new year, we’ll be focusing on artists we think have potential to have breakthrough years like Easton Corbin and The Band Perry did in 2010. The four artists we think could make names for themselves in 2011 are Sunny Sweeney, Thompson Square, The Harters, and Randy Montana. Continue reading to see our mini-reviews of each of their current singles gaining airplay at country radio.

“From A Table Away” – Sunny Sweeney
Sunny Sweeney isn’t exactly a “new” artist (she released her debut album in 2007), she’s finally gaining mainstream success with her current single, “From A Table Away.” The song tells the story about a mistress seeing her married man rekindle his marriage at a table in a bar. “So I guess that means that things are better, must not be so bad at home,” Sweeney seemingly asks the man, “and I heard you tell her you still love her, and it doesn’t matter what you say I saw it all from a table away.” The song could almost serve as a cousin to Sugarland’s “Stay.” The fantastic production is driven by guitar riffs as well as a great country beat throughout the song. The chorus is filled with plenty of steel guitar which clearly makes this a country song. This was one of the best songs of 2010 and there’s no doubt it’ll be a smash hit in 2011.

“Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not?” – Thompson Square
Thompson Square is a new country duo comprised of husband and wife Keifer and Shawna Thompson who belong to Stoney Creek Records’ artist roster. They released their debut single early last year and it failed to take off. However, the follow up single is on its way to being the duo’s first top 20 hit and boy is it a good one. “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not?” tells a couple’s love story detailing their first kiss, to their engagement, and ultimately to their wedding. What I love about the song is it’s creative use of the idea of the different milestones the couple shares a kiss. It’s, to me, a nice unique idea. The song’s production begins fairly quiet with a nice guitar background before it turns into a bit of a country rocker during the first chorus. The duo shows great chemistry and their vocals are spot on with Keifer taking the lead and Shawna providing harmony. This is a great song and I can’t wait to see how high this climbs on the charts.

“If I Run” – The Harters
The Harters are a new country trio who I think have huge potential to be a staple in country music. Each of their voices are great and blend nicely and they have great harmonies as a group. Unfortunately, those talents aren’t shown at their fullest on their current single, “If I Run.” The song’s lyrics are weak in telling the story of a woman asking her companion if he’d be there in the long run. Lines like “if i run will you run after me, if i walk will you wait patiently” are extremely cheesy and mediocre. The production is a bit over-the-top with the guitars and distracting drum beat during the chorus. I’m hoping this isn’t the best to come from the trio because they can do so much better than this song.

“1,000 Faces” – Randy Montana
I’ve always thought Randy Montana had one of the best voices in country music. His debut single, “Ain’t Much Left of Lovin’ You,” was one of my favorite songs released by a new artist last year and I expected big things from him. Unfortunately, Montana is hitting radio waves with “1,000 Faces” which takes cheesy love songs to a whole other level. “Love has a 1,000 faces but I see you, before I ever knew you, before I ever knew you, I dreamed of you, I dreamed of you” that is just one example of how cheesy the lyrics can get. The thing that bugs me the most about this song is that the production is actually fairly good. I love how it’s a toned down production, even though it gets overwhelming and distracting towards the end of the song. Had the lyrics been better, or even completely different, this could have had potential to be a big hit. Instead, it’ll probably only hit top 40, if that, before it falls off the charts. Like The Harters’ song, let’s hope there’s better material in Randy Montana.

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