Voices like Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Kellie Pickler and Scotty McCreery have made quite the career for themselves beyond the stages of Nashville Star and American Idol. Many singing competitions have been the catalyst for stardom and while RaeLynn initially got her start as a part of Blake Sheltons team on The Voice, she has already soared far above simply a reality TV contestant. As her debut album, WildHorse, hits the airwaves it is very clear why.

Lead single, “Love Triangle” is immediately ear catching and creative. Country songs about heartbreak are pretty much dime a dozen, but a song about divorce written from the eyes of a child brings a whole new twist to an industry staple. From front to back, WildHorse has a heart-string running through it. From broken hearts, to jealousy, and just plain love, RaeLynn comes out swinging with 12 personal (11 of which she co-wrote), genre-bending tracks. Recently the country lines have been blurred a bit with acts like Sam Hunt, Maren Morris, and countless others. Raelyn is no exception to this trend. Many of the songs are inherently country but still pop-leaning with quite a bit of added texture through synths and beats.

At times, she feels like a young Miranda Lambert within her well-paced storytelling (“Graveyard”), and at others she very much resembles Miley Cyrus vocals a la “The Climb” (“Young”). It also feels as if she channels quite a bit of Taylor Swift just before she took the leap to pop stardom (“Your Heart” and “Say”). Regardless of who she may slightly mirror, this record, and RaeLynn herself, stand all on their own. The album sways less and less traditional country as it plays through in a bit of a snowball effect, but it builds perfectly. “Trigger” and “Praying for Rain” are a definite stand outs as hybrids, style-wise, “Graveyard” has that perfect country-twang and attitude, and there are two other artists featured on “Young” (Leeland Mooring) and “Say” (Dan + Shay) for a bit of extra flare.

She was on The Voice more than four years ago, so RaeLynn’s debut was a long-time coming but it was well-worth the weight. She has earned herself a place not only in Nashville but the rest of the world, and WildHorse is not one you want to miss.

(by Jennifer Boylen)

Written by Catherine Powell

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