Kree Harrison just released her debut album, This Old Thing, on Plaid Flag Records. The first thing you notice about Kree is her immensely appealing voice. This Old Thing has everything going for it: arresting lyrics, intriguing melodies, excellent musicianship, arrangements, production, and that voice. Even though this is her debut album, the Woodville, Texas native is no overnight success. She started early, real early. According to her bio, by the age of three she asked her pastor if she could sing at church.
...The request was accepted and after she sang, her pastor commented, "I was expecting Jesus Loves Me, but she belted out El Shaddai by Amy Grant. I knew then this child had a special gift."Harrison gained some national notoriety in 2014 when she appeared on Season 12 of American Idol, staying in the competition until it was down to two (she finished second). Her voice immediately caught my ear when I was checking out new releases a couple of weeks ago.
Over the next several years, Harrison sang for churches, rodeos, weddings and competitions. At eight, she was the opening act for R&B performer Percy Sledge. At nine, she won "Artist of the Year" from Kirbyville Playhouse, and at ten, she sang on The Rosie O'Donnell Show and was invited back on three other occasions. Harrison scored a development deal with Lyric Street Records at ten, which resulted in her family moving from Woodville to Nashville.
After two years with Lyric Street she parted ways with no music being released due to creative differences. Harrison began writing her own songs at the age of fourteen and often found herself in writing sessions with Nashville’s hit writers. At sixteen, Harrison landed her first publishing deal with Crysalis Records. She performed across local venues in Nashville such as the legendary Bluebird Cafe, as well as BMI showcases in Florida, such as the Key West Songwriters Festival and the Sandestin Music Festival. She also sang backup vocals on Kacey Musgraves' album, “Same Trailer Different Park”, and Eli Young Band's album, ”Life At Best.”
Most of the songs on This Old Thing are co-writes, with Kree on nine of them. The writing credits look like a who's who of Nashville songwriters (see below) including Lucie Silvas (also a background vocalist), Lori McKenna (who just released her own album last Friday), Sarah Buxton, Maren Morris, Trent Dabbs, and Natalie Hemby. A number of equally talented but maybe less well known writers worked on the album, including producer Benjy Davis who also contributed background vocals.
The album leads off with the title track, which was released several month's ago as a single (see video below). "Something Else" took me immediately with its sweetly dripping pedal steel combined with piano and Harrison irresistible vocal.
You're all out of quarters but we're both out of senseYou can just about feel the heartbreak on "Drinking for Two". "Outta My Mind" has a special quality that it at once feels brand new and old school at the same time, which I think is a major part of this album's success. I love how the simple arrangement of "The Time I've Wasted" combines with Kree's soulful bluesy vocal to sound like a country classic.
Lights are coming on and we're still making plans
If you wanna cross that line, guess I'd let it slide
So, give in and try, yeah, and I'll give you a try
"Every Time I Fall in Love" is not only memorable, but the production uses most of the musicians to best advantage; the combination of piano and organ sounds great as does the pedal steel, with some real nice seasoning by the horns. This Old Thing has all original songs except one cover, Harlan Howard's "He Called Me Baby". The stable of old time country singers who recorded this in its male version ("She Called Me Baby") is a testament to the composition's country pedigree. "He Called Me Baby" was recorded by Patsy Cline in 1964 and again in 1971 by Candi Staton who took it to #9 on the R&B chart. Harrison acquits herself quite nicely on this iconic tune.
On "Wanted It That Way" Harrison pours out her heart regarding the loss of her mom, “I’ve always wanted to record it,” Harrison says. “It’s special to me and I think that it’s good to put stuff out there, even if it’s uncomfortable at times, because people can relate, and it feels good to be selfless with artistry.” (Taste of Country, June 9, 2016)
This Old Thing has a great many memorable melodies and the album ends with one, "How to Dance". This is an incredibly accomplished debut, one that suggests that Kree has a bright future ahead.
Kree has been involved in the Nashville music scene for some time now. Regarding the time it took to bring forth her debut, she says, “I’ve been so stubborn for my whole life, that’s why I never put anything out,” she jokes. “I’ve made music. I’ve done demos and done sessions, but I didn’t want to put anything out that was just ‘good’ rather than great, because I’m gonna have to play it every night.” (Taste of Country, July 8, 2016)
Watch the official video for "This Old Thing".
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Tracklist: Click track name to listen.
1. This Old Thing (Kree Harrison, Benjy Davis, Amanda Wilkinson, Tyler Wilkinson)
2. Something Else (Kree Harrison, Benjy Davis, Sonia Leigh)
3. Dead Man's House (Kree Harrison, Benjy Davis, Mike Walker)
4. Drinking for Two (Kree Harrison, Benjy Davis, Mike Walker)
5. Outta My Mind (Kree Harrison, Benjy Davis, Chris Gelbuda)
6. Something in the Middle (Kree Harrison, Brett Tyler, Lucie Silvas)
7. The Time I've Wasted (Lori McKenna, Liz Rose, Jesse Walker)
8. Every Time I Fall in Love (Sarah Buxton, Al Anderson, Ken Johnson)
9. I've Got Time (Kree Harrison, Brett Tyler, Chase McGill, Eric Snyder)
10. Your Whiskey (Kree Harrison, Brett Tyler, Eric Snyder, Maren Morris)
11. He Called Me Baby (Harlan Howard)
12. Wanted It That Way (Kree Harrison, Natalie Hemby, Trent Dabbs)
13. How to Dance (Maren Morris, Lucie Silvas, Ashley Ray, Jenn Decilveo)
Photos courtesy of Kree Harrison
Kree Harrison: Lead Vocals
Misa Arriaga: Acoustic Guitar, Background Vocals
Jeremy Fetzer: Electric Guitar
Spencer Cullum: Pedal Steel
Dave Cohen: Piano, Keys, Organ, Accordion
Ian Fitchuk: Drums
Eli Beaird: Bass
Zach Casebolt: First Violin
Katelyn Westerdam: Second Violin
Lindsey Smith Trostle: Cello
Barry Green: Trombone
Chris West: Tenor Saxophone
Lief Shires: Trumpet
Kate York: Background Vocals
Kacey Musgraves: Background Vocals
Lucie Silvas: Background Vocals
Jordan Lehning: Production, Arrangements
Benjy Davis: Production, Background Vocals
Mark Pettacia: Engineer, Mixing
DAMNIT-Jim: Assistant Engineer, Vibe
John Baldwin: Mastering
Recorded at Echo Mountain Studios, Asheville, North Carolina
Watch Kree talk about making the album.
Watch Kree make her Grand Ole Opry debut with "All Cried Out", a beautiful song. Introduction by Keith Urban.
"All Cried Out" is Kree's first single, released in 2013. It is not included on the album.
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