Record Of The Week # 142

Elle King – Come Get Your Wife

King comes from a rock background complete with tattoos and piercings. On this country offering she brings blues and rock tinctures; this inevitably gives the album considerable attraction and personality. She’s got a slightly raspy voice that can hold and belt out a tune: more Etta James than Carrie Underwood. This is her third release and she works with Ross Copperman (Dierks Bentley, Keith Urban, Brett Eldredge, Darius Rucker et al), as the co-producer. The affair has a Bro-Country vibe in terms of hooks, pace and arrangements but Copperman isn’t afraid to use a banjo or fiddle to actually make this a proper country music record. This use of traditional acoustic instruments adds to the tunefulness but there are also some terrific rock guitar riffs throughout.

Dierks Bentley turns up on Worth A Shot and their voices meld well over a vibrant rock arrangement that seems typical of much of the album. It’s not their first duet, it follows Different For Girls from 2016. Miranda Lambert, a pal, also lends a voice on Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home). It’s the lead single off the album and has a great video. Whilst never clumsily resorting to vacuous Bro-Country tropes I really liked Try Jesus, it selects the Good Shepherd as Plan B after disillusion with the opposite sex – “I’m gonna try Jesus / See what all the fuss is about / Thinkin’ I should try Jesus / ‘Cause every other man let me down”.

Refreshing by their acoustic nature are Crawlin’ Mood and Bonafide. The weaving of fiddle and banjo is a great sound and it’s interesting to hear her in this different setting. She signs off with Love Go By, it’s wonderful blue-eyed soul. She sings the song and ushers in an irresistible gospel chorus behind her. The backing is dialed down so any emotion in her voice is upfront and clear.

Eight of the tracks are co-writes with Nashville ‘A listers’, this calibre of collaborator has ensured that the album contains some excellent compositions. If King has a history in rock then taking that stage and studio experience and applying it to something like country pop works out to be a fine marriage. King’s been around for many years, paid her dues and had radio Number 1’s in a number of rock genres. Clearly country is now her career and I wish her success, this is a fine release.

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