Artist of the Month: Chris Lane

Insert long drawn-out swoon here.

With the reinvigoration of Widow’s Lure comes the revival of Artist of the Month, where we take a look at a different musician each month and break down why they are so lit, for lack of a better term.

The artist of the month for October 2020 is: Chris Lane.

Dat luscious hair doe. (Photo taken from jenniferlinneaphotography’s Flickr photostream)

Chris Lane has a certain swag that isn’t often found in the country music genre: he’s not overly country like the likes of Garth Brooks or Tim McGraw, but he isn’t overly urbanised or pop like Sam Hunt. He sits somewhere in the middle comfortably in his own style, and I think that’s the thing that people will resonate with the most. And if you just take a good look at the picture above, then you might see why people just like him in general (PA: he’s hot).

One thing that I really enjoy about Chris Lane is just how down to earth he is, if his social medias are anything to go off. The constant teasing and jokes, followed by the obvious love, he shares with his wife Lauren Bushnell (who you may recognise from the 20th season of The Bachelor USA).

The first song you would want to familiarise yourself with to get a feel of Chris Lane is Take Back Home Girl featuring the lovely and super talented Tori Kelly. His vocals compliment Tori’s so well, and together the two create this beautiful love story of a man who’s happy to take his girlfriend home to meet his parents. The song has an easy, Sunday morning drive kind of feel to it, and I guarantee you by the end of the song, you will be singing along to the chorus.

One of my personal favourite Chris Lane songs is For Her (not just because I want someone to feel that strongly about me). Much like Take Back Home Girl, Chris shares his feelings towards a certain special someone in his life, describing her as having a smile that’ll make your worst day feel like your birthday. With a voice as charming as his Johnny Bravo-esque coiffed hair, you can’t help but feel like you are that special someone as you listen to this track, bouncing around to the catchy tune and descriptive lyrics.

If you’re wanting something out of the ‘handsome country musician sings about a beautiful girl’ shtick, then may I present to you the complete opposite of that in the form of New Phone, Who’s This. As the title suggests, the song illustrates a story of a girl who wants Chris back, to which he cheekily replies with “new phone who dis”. The song has a fun and carefree feel to it, so it should not come as a surprise to hear that Rhett Akins is listed as one of the writers of this track.

Recommended Tracks
“Fix” from Girl Problems
Bad Girl” from Laps Around the Sun
“Fishin” from Laps Around the Sun

Chris Lane’s star is only growing from here on out, so I highly recommend jumping on this bandwagon. He has star quality written all over him. And you can say you heard it here first.

– by The Black Widow

Artist of the Month: Little Big Town

I know there is a recurring theme of country musicians featured as our Artists of the Month, but bear with me.

Even if you aren’t a country music fan, if you watched the most recent Grammy’s, you’ll have a fair idea of who Little Big Town are. They are the group of four (two men and two women) that won the Grammy for the Best Country Duo/Music Group Performance for their hit song Girl Crush, and they also had the honour of performing that song on stage.

Introducing February’s Artist of the Month… Little Big Town!

Much serious in one picture.

Much serious in one picture.

In a music genre that is so behind the times traditional, it should come as no surprise that Girl Crush certainly pushed the barriers and stirred a lot of controversy between country music fans even though it shouldn’t because it’s the 21st century. If you hear the song playing, you will envision a story of a woman being obsessed with another woman and wanting to be her lesbian lover. If you actually listen to the song, though, you will witness a story of a woman who is in love with a man who is actually with someone else, so the first woman wants to be the second woman so the man will love her instead. Sounds like a standard love song, right? Well, with lyrics like “I want to taste her lips, yeah ‘cos they taste like you“, it’s easy to see some would think why this song is about same-sex romance.

The song has stirred up a lot of controversy, but if you just ignore the unnecessary critical attention to the song, it’s actually a beautiful love ballad? Karen’s vocals in this track are actually phenom, and if it were anyone else singing, I don’t think this song would have been as great.

Oh, speaking of, meet the members that make up Little Big Town. From left to right, we have Phillip Sweet, Kimberly Roads Schlapman, Karen Fairchild and Jimi Westbrook (#DamnDaniel), with the latter two of the four being happily married since 2006.

littlebigtown1

Little Big Town were formed in the early 2000s, but their career never really picked up momentum until 2006 with the release of their single Boondocks, the first single from the album The Road to Here, which became their first top 10 hit on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs charts. This was really the catalyst behind their kickstart to stardom, because ever since then, Little Big Town have been a big player in the country music genre, and their star power has only grown exponentially.

My personal favourite Little Big Town song Tornado emerged from their fifth studio album which was called – GASP! – Tornado. While one would naturally think that this song would be about a natural disaster, it actually details a woman’s anger towards her unfaithful man. “Yeah, I’m gonna lift this house. Spin it all around. Toss it in the air and put it in the ground. Make sure you’re never found. Like, damn girl.

It doesn’t seem as if Little Big Town’s momentum is going to be stopped any time soon, so while I’ve got you here, here are a few recommended tracks for your entertainment:

Recommended Tracks
Day Drinking from Pain Killer
Your Side of the Bed from Tornado
Girl Crush from Pain Killer
Pavement Ends 
from Tornado

And I will leave you with the plain and simple music video that shook the close-minded traditional world of country music.

– by The Black Widow

Artist of the Month: Justin Bieber

Surprise. An article about the ever-rising superstardom of Canadian not-so-young-anymore heartthrob, Justin Bieber.

It would be foolish of me not to capitalize on Bieber’s explosion in popularity, right?

The artist of the month featured in the month of January is Justin Bieber.

I never thought I'd see the day where I'd willingly save a picture of Justin Bieber onto my computer.

I never thought I’d see the day where I’d willingly save a picture of Justin Bieber onto my computer.

Admittedly, I am not a fan of the man they call Justin Bieber. I don’t really follow his every move like the Beliebers out there, I don’t really listen to his music, nor am I a big fan of his apparent Diva attitude. What I can admit to, however, is that the recent change in his sound has caught the attention of a more grown-up audience, and for good reason as well. Justin Bieber isn’t a boy anymore. He’s a man. And other grown ass men around the world are acknowledging that.

This babyfaced blond was first discovered on YouTube (it seems like every bloody artist nowadays is discovered on YouTube, and here I am tone deaf with no concept of pitch whatsoever). He was soon signed to a record deal and released his first album in 2010, where he recorded typical teeny bopper pop songs like Somebody to Love and the infamous Baby featuring Ludacris. His babyface, my-voice-hasn’t-cracked-yet vocals and typical teenager charm caught the attention of young impressionable girls worldwide, and the Biebs became a hit.

Of course, you can’t possibly be liked by everyone, and as much as Bieber was adored, he was despised by a more mature audience.

Apparently, Bieber didn’t stick to his goody two-shoes image too long, and he chose to go down a more risky path. In 2012, Bieber released his third studio album, Believe. The single As Long As You Love Me featuring Big Sean included a more adult video clip, including scenes of Bieber being beat up by his girlfriend’s disapproving father (I actually laughed at this. I’m a terrible person.) After these more adult-y songs, it would be expected that Bieber would be more well received, right? Well, other than the ridiculously catchy song Boyfriend, adults still didn’t respond well to the Biebs.

Fast forward to 2016, and now this meme could not be any more accurate.

This is truth.

This is truth.

So what happened in between the release of Believe and today? Bieber’s fourth album, Purpose. The cover art should spell it out for you, really; Bieber isn’t a boy anymore, and he wants to let people know that. This album featured hit after hit after hit, with my most favourite being Sorry, where the video clip features an old family friend New Zealand dance extraordinaire Parris Goebel and her dance crew. Compare Bieber’s first album to his most recent, and you can clearly see the evolution that the Canadian has gone through.

With only four studio albums to his name, it’s surprising that the man has amassed such an empire and mass following, and it doesn’t seem like his popularity is stopping any time soon. I mean, today it was reported that he had dyed his hair purple. Like, this is headline stuff right here. I dyed my hair bright red once, and no one wrote about that… tear.

I acknowledge that Bieber has come a long way since his Bieber-hair days, and does have the talent that warrants this much attention, but I am quite content to sit here listening to Kacey Musgraves tbh. Y’all can have Bieber.

– by The Black Widow

Artist of the Month: Sam Hunt

There may be a slight bias as to why this man is the featured artist of the month, but I look to explain something that has been bugging me about him for months.

The featured artist of the month November is Sam Hunt.

Sam is currently in the middle of writing his second album. (SOURCE: official Sam Hunt website)

Sam is currently in the middle of writing his second album. (SOURCE: official Sam Hunt website)

If you haven’t read my review for his debut album Montevallo, you can do so by clicking here. The album is also available for purchase on iTunes.

The year 2015 may very well have been the greatest year in Sam Hunt’s life. Three singles from his debut album have been number one on the US Country and US Country Airplay charts (Leave the Night On, Take Your Time and House Party) and the album was also number one on the US Country album chart and peaked at number three on the Billboard 200 chart, which is an outstanding feat for a rookie country music artist.

On top of this, Hunt has been nominated for several awards this year, including Single of the Year and Song of the Year for Take Your Time and New Artist of the Year at the CMAs. He won the Songwriter-artist of the Year award at the ASCAP Country Music Awards, the Breakthrough Video of the Year award at the CMT Music Awards, and he also took home the New Artist of the Year award at the Taste of Country Music Awards.

Sam’s had a killer year, no doubt, but that’s not what I wanted to discuss.

I wanted to write about why I liked Sam Hunt. I mean, really get to the heart of why I’m such a fangirl of his. And this also leads me to what really annoys me about most of his other fans.

Looking at the image above, there’s no denial that Sam Hunt is a very attractive man. Every box you didn’t even know you had on your “Dream Man Checklist”, he ticks off: he’s tall, dark, handsome, can play guitar and sing well, and he also has an affinity for snapbacks and funky pairs of pants. Yes, I admire his looks and, yes, it does make it easier to like him.

But that’s not why I like him, and that’s what bothers me about other Sam Hunt fans.

All of the comments on his photos across various different social media platforms tend to target one thing about his person – his looks. Fair enough, say and do whatever you want, but when there are so many other impressive feats about this man, it gets kind of repetitive, irritating and monotonous when all one can say about Sam Hunt is “OMG BAE AF”.

Let’s take, for example, the fact that he had a hand in writing every single one of his songs on the Montevallo album. If you’re not aware of how the music industry generally works, the singer does not write their songs; they are given demos sung by other vocalists and written by other smart people, choose whether they want to record that song, and voila. That song is now “theirs”. But Sam took this to the next level and co-wrote each song on his album and on top of that, recorded the vocals. If I’m not mistaken, he also had a hand in the instrument playing, but don’t hold me to that.

That’s talent, right?

On top of that, whether this is intentional or not, Sam is ushering in a new era to the country music genre. The genre of country music is very traditional in the sense that it isn’t too welcoming to change of any kind. Sam’s style of music is different in that while the country roots are evident in his music, he welcomes inspiration from other types of music into his songs. RnB, hip-hop and pop are welcome influences into songs such as Take Your Time and Single for the Summer and while this has caused backlash from country music traditionalists, I for one thoroughly enjoy the change.

On the topic of change, this is where I have to mention that I get daily Google alerts every time Sam Hunt is mentioned on the web. I like to think of it as stalking dedication as a fan. Receiving these Google alerts in my e-mail inbox daily, I get to read a lot of articles that mention the country musician that other fans might miss, and some of them have a very common theme: “Sam Hunt has a black back-up guitarist! Wow! Much shock! Many horror!” I’m sorry but it’s 2015. It shouldn’t be that noteworthy that Sam has a back-up guitarist who is black (Tyrone Carreker, if you’re interested in looking up this talented guitarist). These same articles also talk about Sam’s personal style as if they’re watching a dog walk on its hind legs, to borrow a quote from Mean Girls. Sure, he isn’t wearing Wrangler jeans with cowboy boots, but why does that prove to be a topic of discussion? There isn’t anything unusual about the way he dresses. I love his style personally.

Through his music, the way he dresses, and even who he chooses to have in his band, Sam is ushering in a revolution in country music, and on top of his enormous amounts of talent and absolutely charming personality, that is why I like Sam Hunt. Not because his biceps are huge (kiss me!) or his award-winning smile, but the fact that he is changing the country music genre, and for someone like me, that is very liberating. Hopefully as Sam’s career continues, the minds of country music fans will open and they’ll see their beloved music in a totally different light. I mean, even today, women in country music still aren’t treated the same as their male counterparts. This shouldn’t even be a problem.

Recommended tracks
Take Your Time from Montevallo
Break Up in a Small Town from Montevallo
Single for the Summer from Montevallo
Cop Car from Montevallo (FUN FACT: he originally co-wrote this song for Keith Urban)

You can follow Sam Hunt on social media at the following links:
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

– by The Black Widow