From the angelic performance she gives in “Deserves to Be Loved” to the more controlled offering of “Encore,” Kari Holmes is letting her vocal lead the way in her new album When I See You Smile. While women in country music have been blazing trails for longer than I can remember, there’s something really special about the generation of feminine singer/songwriters coming out of the woodwork in Nashville right now, and Holmes is a good example of what I’m talking about. Though humble with her lyricism, her harmonies are larger than life – and especially the studio she’s recording them in.
As much as I would like to call this an album driven solely by its vocalists’ incredible charms, to say that the instrumentation in tracks like “Hurts Bad,” “One Step Beyond,” or “Devil Devil” is an afterthought just wouldn’t be accurate. Contrarily, I think there’s a lot of chemistry between Holmes and her backing band influencing the way we interpret the lyrical themes of the aforementioned songs, and it certainly helps to shape the larger narrative of the LP in general. Country music is all about connections, and despite this being a solo venture, it exhibits that fact quite relentlessly.
Holmes’ songwriting is amazingly sharp, but it’s especially noteworthy in the likes of the title cut, “Making Heaven a Home,” and “Guess Who.” She’s not urgent with her poeticisms, but instead very disciplined with how she’s constructing a theme in When I See You Smile, which makes for a more complete listening session when going over the record track by track. This is a very thoughtful singer/songwriter, and there’s no stepping away from the better part of this album without acknowledging as much – between production quality and natural poise, hers is a presence you can’t help but fall in love with.
Principled lyrical wit can be found everywhere in When I See You Smile, to the point where even the simplest of moments in “Came Here to Dance Alone,” “Just to Hear Your Name,” and “It Ain’t Real If It Ain’t You” feel really immersive and emotionally charged. Holmes is someone who can do a lot with her voice and not much else, but in terms of measuring her abilities to mesh with a backing band and debut verses that go beyond what the standard is comprised of, this LP couldn’t have been made any better than it is.
Personality is the cornerstone of all success in popular music, and Kari Holmes’ is quite captivating to discover in the dozen songs included in When I See You Smile this winter season. She has a charisma that seems to go on for miles, and best of all, it isn’t boxed into her persona as a singer/songwriter focused on giving us her best vocal above all else. Experimentation is in her future, and if you’re not sure what I mean by this, just take a peek at the ambitiousness of the material in When I See You Smile and the powerhouse woman responsible for its creation.
Donate to IndiePulse Music Magazine’s Academic and Music Education Scholarship Program HeartBeat4Kids
IndiePulse Music Magazine creates Scholarships to help Youth In Need of assistance to complete their educational goals and stay in school.