Newcomer Brett Eldredge wields a powerful and impressively soulful voice on his debut album, Bring You Back, effectively announcing his arrival on the country music scene. In fact, the Illinois native’s self-assured baritone completely takes control of the project start to finish, striking first and making sure to leave a lasting impression.
Working with a variety of Nashville A-list producers to create a very contemporary-sounding debut, Brett co-wrote all but one of 12 songs on the long-awaited record that is in stores now. Tracks tend to move with a carefree spirit and the acoustic-based foundations leave plenty of room for the 27-year-old’s big voice. The album’s feel follows the lead of No. 1 hit single, “Don’t Ya,” where warm harmonies and an R&B kick spin a tale of whimsical love. With an easygoing and comfortable tone, songs like “On and On” and “Mean To Me” fit somewhere between country soul man James Otto and the light bluesy touch of Casey James – all accented by a dash of Jerrod Niemann’s eclectic rhythms. “Gotta Get There,” in particular, displays dynamic musical interactions as Brett’s voice threads a punctuated rhythm section with expressive qualities that back up the song’s question, Can’t you hear the ‘miss you’ in my voice?
Brett hits on a wide range of styles throughout the debut. The heartland-influenced, “Signs,” which he co-wrote with Country Music Hall of Famer ‘Whisperin’’ Bill Anderson, takes a journey through small town America with a fiddle hook leading the way. “Beat Of The Music” looks to dance all night long as handclaps keep time through some of the project’s most pop-leaning passages. However, a trio of ballads makes up the emotional core of the album.
“One Mississippi,” “Waited Too Long” and “Raymond” reach down deep to expose the center of Bring You Back. With plaintive piano notes coursing through each track, these three songs address raw elements of human connection. “One Mississippi” is exceedingly vulnerable while Brett’s delivery is deliberate and honest. “Waited Too Long” comes with the most dynamic performance – as well as an incredible lesson in vocal control – while “Raymond” manages to be simultaneously sorrowful and inspiring. “Raymond,” which was Brett’s first single, tells the story of an orderly in a nursing home who sits with an elderly Alzheimer’s patient, letting her call him by her dead son’s name. She calls me Raymond, he reveals before adding, and that’s alright by me. The themes here are most certainly heavy, but Brett does a masterful job relating the story with a rich, warm tone to relate the song’s sincerity.
Whether it’s the fiery, fueled up, “Tell Me Where To Park” or the deep undercurrents running through power ballads like the strong title-track, Brett shows the ability to confidently handle any arrangement. Watch out as his writing continues to develop and his musical vision gets tighter. Because with one of the best new voices of the year, Brett’s work on Bring You Back holds the sort of power that will demand attention.
Key Tracks – “Don’t Ya,” “One Mississippi,” “Waited Too Long,” “Raymond”