Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Laura Bell Bundy, "Drop On By"

After barely missing the Top 30 with "Giddy On Up," Broadway star-turned country crooner Laura Bell Bundy takes another shot at radio success with a strong single that shows an effort to stand out from the competition.

While "Giddy On Up" came from the Shakin' side of Laura's Achin' and Shakin' album, "Drop On By" is a soft ballad from the Achin' side.  Laura's vocal performance is a sultry whisper as she delivers the melancholy lyrics.  One of Laura's greatest assets as a vocalist is her outstanding ability to connect with the lyrics, and to deliver her own unique interpretation.  Her vocals convey feelings, not just words.  This is an admirable ability in any vocalist, but it's an ability that many current country stars lack.

The song's production, a creative fusion of genre influences, is as much of a highlight as the vocals.  The sound of the steel guitar almost borders on neo-traditionalism.  A few electric guitar riffs give the song a jazzy, bluesy sound.  The string section is just subdued enough to underscore the vocals without causing the track to erupt into an Underwood-esque pop power ballad.  The song has a bit of a classic throwback sound, but a steady drum beat gives the track just enough polish to sound modern at the same time.  It's easy to imagine hearing this song in a classic Hollywood movie musical... or a Broadway play for that matter.

Who would have guessed that a former Broadway show girl could deliver such solid country songs that not only sound country, but also show potential to break country radio's mold and make this genre sound interesting again?  I'll have more of that, please.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)