Danielle Simone Bradbery was born on July 23, 1996. She won Season 4 of NBC’s ‘The Voice’. On November 12, 2013 she made her Grand Ole Opry debut at the Ryman. She released her first album, self-titled, on November 25, 2013. It debuted at No 5 on the U.S. Top Country Albums chart. It sold 41,000 copies during the first week and by January 8, 2014 had sold 103,000 copies. In the CD booklet Danielle writes: “First and foremost, I would like to thank God. Without Him, my life and the blessings within would not be possible. I would also like to thank my wonderful parents, family, and friends for their love, support and prayers...I love you all”.
The album begins with the upbeat country song ‘Young in America’. It was written by Jaren Johnston, Kylie Sackley, and Whitney Duncan. It is all about having fun: “We could do the Vegas thing, you could buy me a ring/Make a lot of love and a little bit of money/Go dancin’ in the rain with the guitars playin’/Down there in Memphis, how about it honey/Fine white sand, bare feet, kiss me on the beach/So much to see, come on, come on, come on”. ‘Wild Boy’ contains a lyrical theme that is no stranger to country music: “He draws you in with his flame/Takes you on a ride like a paper airplane in a hurricane/Looks you in the eye when he says your name/Midnight ride on a motorcycle in the pourin’ rain/Oooh, he charms you senseless/Oooh, leaves you defenceless/Wild boy, wild boy.../He’ll disappear without tellin’ you goodbye/Oh, no matter what you think/You can’t tame a wild boy, no”.
‘The Heart of Dixie’ was penned by Caitlyn Smith, Brett James, and Troy Verges. It’s the only track on the album not produced by Dann Huff. Brett James produced this one. It peaked at No 16 on the U.S. Country Charts and No 46 on the Canadian Country charts. The song has a melodic, classic country sound and tells the story of a woman leaving her alcoholic husband to find herself: “Dixie packed up and said her goodbyes and she went/Drivin’ so far away nobody’s gonna find her/Flyin’ just fast enough to leave it all behind her/But she didn’t know ‘til she hit the road/Deep in her soul/She’s got the fire and the fight of a gypsy/Ain’t nothin’ stronger/Than the heart of Dixie”. ‘I Will Never Forget You’ is a terrific country ballad about heartbreak, with Charlie Judge performing strings. Here are some of the words: “Sooner or later they say, that it all gets easier/Take it one tear at a time/And I’ll wake up one day to find some closure/Shinin’ like the sunlight through the blinds/No matter how much time may pass between us/You’ll never be more than a memory away/Cause I’ll never forget you”.
‘Endless Summer’ was written by Sarah Buxton, Jedd Hughes, and Busbee. It has a warm feel to it musically and Hunter Hayes adds an electric guitar solo. This song fondly reminisces about a former love interest: “Warm winds blowin’ reckless through my mind/Takes me right back to the time/When I was your baby and you were mine/And we were on fire just like the sun above/Couldn’t burn hot enough for each other/Endless summer (2X)”. ‘Talk About Love’ speaks of teenage adventure: “I snuck in at ten o’clock and you were waitin’ a couple blocks/Away in your car between your house and mine/We held hands and drove too fast/Took 5 hours and a tank of gas/But now we’re here and all alone/I know we’ll be dead when we get home.../Can you believe we’re finally here?/Bare feet hangin’ off the pier/I thought I’d seen it all tonight/But then you put your lips on mine”.
Gordie Sampson, Caitlyn Smith, and Steve McEwan wrote ‘Never Like This’. It finds Danielle totally smitten with a guy: “Happens so fast, so much to lose/Fallin’ fifty miles an hour without a parachute/Tryin’ to resist, but I can’t refuse/I’m feelin’ feelings that I never knew/Ooh, yeah, ooh/I’ve thrown my heart out in the open/I always thought love could be mine but never like this/I’ve been afraid of being broken/I’ve laid it all out on the line but never like this”. ‘Daughter of a Workin’ Man’ is a tender song. It is also another example of a song with decidedly country lyrics: “I’m the daughter of a workin’ man/He built our world with his two hands/He gave us everything he had/I’m the daughter of a workin’ man/I’m a restless girl from a red-dirt town/Like a tumbleweed I rolled right out/The wind will bring me back around/Cause I’m a restless girl from a red-dirt town”.
I was expecting a fast-paced song when it comes to the next song ‘Dance Hall’, but I was wrong. Nevertheless, the song has a youthful, playful slant to it lyrically: “We could string the stars over these corn stalks and we could turn your truck into an old jukebox/Just take my hand and baby we could fall/Let’s turn this open field into an old dancehall/No neon signs, no bar room fights/Just you and me in these headlights/Two steppin’ in rolled up Levi jeans/There ain’t no band playing ‘Ramblin Man’/No cowboys kickin’ old beer cans/Just a couple cherry Cokes and a mixed CD”. Finally, ‘Yellin’ from the Rooftop’ is a more energetic song musically. It borrows religious language to describe the experience of falling in love: “I wasn’t even lookin’ for the look in your eyes/Glory hallelujah, I feel like I’ve been saved/Washin’ in the river of your real love waves, yeah.../You made me want to testify every day and every night”.
‘My Day’ was created by Mallory Hope, Tom Shapiro, and Ross Copperman. Dan Huff contributes an electric guitar solo. This great inspirational song is to be featured in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. Here are some of the lyrics: “Like a lotus flower growing in the dirt/Ain’t nobody ever noticed what it’s worth/Til the sun shines and the rain falls and/In no time it all is beautiful.../This is the start of something/My heart believes it now/This is my day, this is my day/Oh, won’t let it slip away”. The deluxe digital version of this album includes four additional tracks including a cover of ‘Jesus Take The Wheel’.
Danielle Bradbery has a very good voice. It is easy to listen to. This album reminds me more of classic country artists such as Trisha Yearwood, Faith Hill, and Sara Evans, than it does more contemporary ones such as Taylor Swift and Cassadee Pope. One of the drummers used on the album is Greg Morrow of DeGarmo and Key fame. Cherie Oakley and Sam Ellis provide backing vocals. This album was released by Universal Republic Records and will appeal to those who like mid-tempo country songs more than real toe-tappers. Danielle is on Brad Paisley’s ‘Beat This Winter’ tour. The CD booklet includes many beautiful pictures of Danielle. I’m rating this debut project 85%. For more info visit: www.daniellebradbery.com and www.republicnashville.com.