Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
Before you try to take away my honky tonk card, let me say a few things on my behalf. Yes, this is a little bit poppier than something I would normally review. But, Alannah wrote or co-wrote every song on Ricochet Heart. That means a lot to me and separates a true artist from a mere performer. Alannah McCready is both. She also possesses a very soothing and uplifting voice. After giving this what I call a “very fair” listen, I really enjoy the music.
While Alannah has a blues-based country voice, she definitely infuses a healthy dose of pop into her songs. It is done tastefully and professionally. Take a listen to Stop Time (Track 10). This song starts off like a late 70s Elton John song. When Alannah starts singing, the song takes a more country turn. And the words are very well written. The musical arrangement on this number is also extremely well done. It’s a very nice song about that perfect date or moment that is so good you don’t want it to end.
The title track of the album, Ricochet Heart (Track 5) is another song that displays some more of Alannah’s intelligent writing. This song is more along the country spectrum, using pedal steel and mandolin. I really feel the honky tonk and can envision couples dancing away to this melancholy ditty. “No one has a ricochet heart”, proclaims Alannah. And no one does. Alannah has an original way of phrasing an event that that has been described millions of times. No one has heart of stone and it is possible for a heart to be wounded if not cared for properly.
Knockin’ On The Devil’s Door (Track 4) is a very rocking, country number that has some serious hit potential. This song contains all of the required elements: a strong voice, fiddle, and some twangy guitar. The fact that this song is about a volatile relationship makes it even more destined to be a country hit. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the truly brilliant slide guitar solo at the conclusion of the song.
As I continue to listen to Ricochet Heart, I am even more impressed with this album. Not only are all of the songs solidly written and performed, they all sound great and are more substance-laden than your garden variety pop country. Clearly, Alannah wants to do things her way and is not willing to compromise her sound or creativity. I for one, commend that. She is the type of artist that really deserves our support and our dollar bills.