With a few notable exceptions, being runner-up on American Idol often doesn’t lead to a successful career. However, given the talent displayed on Farmer’s Daughter (download right here), Crystal Bowersox seems likely to stick around for a while.
Crystal Bowersox’s music isn’t for everyone – in case Farmer’s Daughter didn’t tip you off, there’s a lot of country flair on this album – but those who enjoy it will enjoy it immensely. “Ridin’ With The Radio” is a great introductory track, bringing plenty of personality and an upbeat, catchy melody with a lot of country-tinged instrumentals. Bowersox gives a memorable reboot to “For What It’s Worth,” making the Buffalo Springfield classic her own while staying true to the original for the most part.
“Farmer’s Daughter” is a heart-wrenching song that reveals Bowersox’s parental problems, and despite all of the emotion, the singer’s voice never wavers. Bowersox channels sadness and anger but doesn’t overdo it, keeping her composure and making this one catchy. “Holy Toledo” is already a fan favorite, and for good reason – it’s catchy and not overcomplicated, with an engaging hook.
“Lonely Won’t Come Around” is upbeat despite the obvious longing in the lyrics, and it’s a great way to deliver a track that could have been quite sulky. “Hold On” is a standard heartbroken country song, but it gets a breath of fresh air and perspective from Bowersox and is a solid track.
“On The Run” finds Bowersox asserting her independence and attitude, and it’s thanks to her personality and the backing instrumentation that this one shines. “Kiss Ya” is upbeat and another memorable track, with a wall of sound backing up Bowersox’s sass and guitar.
The following track, “Speak Now,” is down tempo, with twinkling piano and an engaging melody. As with many of the tracks on Farmer’s Daughter, “Speak Now” feels complete and well-composed, with Bowersox able to break out of the solo singer-songwriter feel with full instrumentation. “Mine All Mine” is another slower track, but it has a dramatically different feel and deep lyrics. “Mason” finds Bowersox using a bricklaying metaphor to express her desire to “build a life with you,” and thankfully it doesn’t feel too corny.
The final track, “Arlene,” is slow and brooding, as Bowersox strips things down to just her and her guitar, with great results, as she shows off her skill at finger picking and songwriting.
Farmer’s Daughter boasts a modern folk feel and an accessible country vibe, and is a good indicator that Crystal Bowersox’s time in the spotlight is not yet over. Bowersox’s sense of when to allow the band to tag along and when to go solo makes all of the tracks work well, and she doesn’t fall into the trap of trying to do too much or too little. Even if you’re not a fan of country, give Farmer’s Daughter a shot.
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