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Singer/Songwriter Charlsey Etheridge Releases New Album

Since first coming onto the scene just a few years ago with the release of some very credible singer/songwriter content, Charlsey Etheridge has been raising eyebrows among critics and fans the same – no doubt because of the incredible voice she has. Her singing has been a focal point of many writers’ commentaries in the past couple of years, but there hasn’t been nearly as much said about the flexibility of her artistic direction – until now.

Her new album Scars of Mine puts her versatile songwriting abilities at center stage and arguably gives us even more reason to be excited about this rising star.    Etheridge’s fearless execution is a difficult element of her professional skillset for the competition to keep up with, and you needn’t look much further than “Doin’ Wrong Feel Right,” “Time,” “So Long,” and “Midnight Train” to know what I mean here. She’s so spot-on with the microphone that it’s hard to believe this is only her second studio album; the efficiency of her attack alone puts her in some very elite company.

From what I can tell, she’s only getting better with experience, and these tracks exemplify how little mileage she needs to go even harder after the mainstream market.    The timing of the verses in the title cut, “Did You?,” and “Back to You” indicates the potential for a killer live show here, but bigger than this is the tonal presence Etheridge’s voice has even when it’s standing beside larger than life instrumentation.

She requires neither a boost from the master mix nor a rigid arrangement to structure her hooks in this record, and while there might be other measurements of skill in the country genre, this one has undeniably become a solid go-to in the post-western era of progressive songwriting.  

Chemistry isn’t just important between players; it’s vital to the cultivation of a good harmony between singer and instrument, and it’s plentiful in the tracklist of Scars of Mine. The heavier melody is a particular favorite of Etheridge’s, giving birth to some scathing commentarial moments in “Rhythm of Love” that sent chills down my back the first time I heard them. She could be as amazing with nothing more than a backing band and a smoke-filled nightclub’s audience as she would a complete orchestra, and that just can’t be said about any of the other players in her scene right now. 

Smashing country music isn’t hard to find in 2023, but intellectually stimulating songcraft is as rare a feature in Nashville as it’s ever been, which makes someone like Charlsey Etheridge a real godsend to music addicts like me. Summer always has a more unique soundtrack than the other three seasons do, and Scars of Mine is primed with melodies and mightily poetic verses comprising the mood of the fleeting sunshine better than I expected them to, given the swaggering feel of Etheridge’s debut. I’m crazy about this LP, and I think other alternative country fans are going to find it worth celebrating as well.   

Mindy McCall  



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