Since I've mentioned it a few times in previous posts, I'd like the record to show that nobody has stepped forward to claim that they, too, have written a country song about U-Hauling. Ergo, mine is the first, only, and best and maybe one day I'll let other humans listen to it. In the meantime, you should listen to Mandy Rowden, who's produced one of my favorite albums this year.
I find that female artists tend to be a bit passive for my taste -- in terms of their writing and delivery. I was immediately impressed by "Breaks," the lead-off track from These Bad Habits. Rowden drawls the song out with jaded, heavy-lidded weariness and simmering frustration that could easily come from an American Aquarium record. To be sure, most of the songs on Rowden's debut are classic country in the sense that they're about people at rock bottom. But Rowden also excels at upbeat music. "Enough For Us All" (which I'm fairly certain is about the marriage equality movement) is uplifting, and "Am I Ever" sears with beauty and nostalgia as Rowden recalls a failed relationship. These Bad Habits is Rowden's first full-length album, and it's a strong debut. As Rowden continues to tighten her songwriting, she'll certainly be a force to be reckoned with.
Mandy Rowden -- Official, iTunes, CDBaby