Head Above Water

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For his sixth album, Texan artist Brandon eschewed the typical Nashville co-writing tradition and penned every track himself, from the sultry, heavy rock groove of “Like It Was the Last Time” to the catchy “Rock Angel.” His honest and poetic lyrics flow through most every song here, such as I’m not changing / You’re not changing / Sometimes it’s best to dance alone from “Last Swan Song.” The most mainstream country-oriented track here is “It’s the Country That Saves Me,” packed with clichéd lyrics but a cool vibe. His supple, versatile voice is restrained and vulnerable-sounding on the romantic and poetic “Head Above Water,” though he shifts to a stronger, more overtly soulful delivery on tracks like “Ultimate Deceiver” and “Breathe,” with impassioned vocals and dramatic instrumental solos. On “You Can Count on Me,” he’s singing about a personal relationship, but Head Above Water makes it clear he can be counted on for ace songwriting and artistry as well.

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