Release Date: Aug 2, 2011
Record label: Universal Republic
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Contemporary Christian, Religious, CCM
On his third album, this Oregon troubadour gets back to the percussive, reggae-lite ditties that went missing on his last album, 2009's City of Black & White. "Hey Mama" suggests a Michael Franti tune, and on "She Got the Honey," Mat Kearney raps, "Saw her down at the De La show/Walking in looking down at her toes." The genre-mixing doesn't always work: "Young Dumb and in Love" sounds like a neutered jock jam, and the grandiose synth pop of "Sooner or Later" is barely distinguishable from OneRepublic. With melodies this hummable, though, Kearney should be soundtracking another Grey's Anatomy scene in no time.
Mat Kearney seems to describe the trajectory of his music career halfway through his third album when he croons, "From the moment that you popped out on the scene, hard to know what you got or [what] you're meant to be." The Nashville-based singer made a splash with 2006's Nothing Left to Lose, but didn't seem to grasp fully what he had at the time. After exploring the nuances of his sound on his next album, Young Love could be considered his arrival record, finding the right flavor of hip-hop, adult alternative, and classic storytelling. The formula works well for the Oregon-born songwriter, who again uses his raspy tenor to take melodies in directions you wouldn't necessarily expect.
The washed out photos of The Wandas on the cover of their debut, dressed as they might have been in the ’60s and ’70s, perfectly reflects the band’s retro but not necessarily dated approach. The Boston based quartet’s dreamy pop-rock locks in on a mid-tempo groove and the organic sound captures the effortless strummy melodies and vocal harmonies that recall the days before slick production and too many overdubs robbed music of its magic. Jeff BridgesJeff Bridges(Blue Note)Rating: The dude abides some sleepy, rootsy production by T-Bone Burnett to capitalize on his star turn as country washout Bad Blake in Crazy Heart.