Danielle Bradbery is the newest country talent to emerge from the hugely popular TV singing competition, The Voice. Along with fellow The Voice winner Cassadee Pope, also coached by Blake Shelton on the show, Danielle’s journey to the championship reinforces the exploding mainstream popularity of the country music genre. Now on her self-titled debut, Danielle shows that while her sound is largely contemporary, the 17-year old Texan also has some Red Dirt roots.
Working with top Nashville producer Dann Huff (Keith Urban, Billy Currington), Danielle stays true to the types of songs she chose while a contestant on The Voice. Having covered the likes of Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift on the show, Danielle blends strong female voices like these with a teenager’s restless heart. The album opener “Young In America” sings of youthful love and escape through the lines, Let’s crank up the truck, kick up some dust/Leave it all behind, just me and you, before giving shout outs to the south as well as NYC and LA. With a crisp, clean sound that favors bright notes, the production and performances are meant for all. And on the fiddle-driven single “The Heart Of Dixie” and forward-looking, “My Day,” Danielle preaches the strong self-empowerment heard in some of the genre’s top female artists.
Danielle stays the contemporary course on songs like “Talk About Love” and the dramatic “Wild Boy.” However, the latter, a song about falling for the dangerous type, provides the first glimpse at the subtle earthiness hidden in Danielle’s voice. Wrapped in her slight drawl is a rich tone that sounds perfectly at home on open arrangements. The bluesy, shuffling “Endless Summer” and country-swing “Yellin’ From The Rooftop” both head in roots-driven directions. Hunter Hayes provides a thoughtful guitar melody on the former while Danielle’s voice carries a strong edge on the Miranda Lambert-influenced latter. The best example of Danielle’s Texas Country twang comes on the windswept “Daughter Of A Workin’ Man,” one of the project’s best songs. If love’s to be my compass then I’m fine with what’s to come/Cause part of knowin’ where I’m goin’ is knowin’ where I’m from, she sings with introspective rhythm through a chorus full of acoustic guitars and dobro.
Danielle’s voice is best on the album’s most dynamic songs. A lot of this has to do with allowing her pure technical skill to shine through. On the dramatic “I Will Never Forget You,” she matches epic strings with a soaring chorus and on the jazz-tinged “Never Like This,” Danielle shows off soulful inflections through the chord progression’s descending notes. Danielle continually meets the arrangement’s level of difficulty, most often exceeding it to keep her voice the star of the show.
On her debut album, which is available now, Danielle crafts a set that will no doubt please fans familiar with her through The Voice. However, where she really gains momentum is on those cuts that allow her to spread out. With songs like the understated “Dance Hall” offering new twists on current format staples such as secluded dirt road romance, Danielle shows she’s up for the challenge of carving out a new niche in the format with a voice that blends the mainstream with a little Texas twang.
Key Tracks – “I Will Never Forget You,” “Endless Summer,” “Never Like This,” “Daughter Of A Workin’ Man”