A strong album from a talented artist with mainstream appeal.
Hollie Rogers is a singer-songwriter, originally from Cornwall. She has opened for acts like KT Tunstall, Suzanne Vega, Midge Ure, Paolo Nutini and Ralph McTell and counts Bob Harris as a great fan. Five years in the making, this album was made independently using crowdfunding from her fanbase. It has consistently good songs on it which would have a strong chance of mass appeal if they got radio exposure. Many have memorable hooks and melodies and Rogers has an excellent voice, performing extremely well in the different musical styles throughout the album.
Rogers mostly used the House Band at the Masterlink Studios in Surrey where the recording was made. The skilled arrangements and performances of the songs with guitar, steel guitar, violin, piano and keyboards added at various times mean that the music of the album is good to listen to. The record has a British feel to it with different tracks that remind you of Sade, Adele and Joan Armatrading. Folk music is clearly an influence; examples are the two beautiful tracks ‘The Man You Had to Be’ and ‘The Coast Road’, a story of a romance that has an Irish flavour.
Americana music styles are less in evidence, although Rogers says she is influenced by Joni Mitchell and this can be heard on the album. The one song which is solidly americana is the country-blues of ‘Strange’ with slide guitar. Here Rogers ponders how odd it is that she is with a man apparently much more successful than her.
Love, lust and relationships are the lyrical themes with Rogers being open about her flaws at times. On ‘Sinner’ she states “I’m a sinner, baby, and I love what you do” while the excellent title track ‘Criminal Heart’ deals with being in an obsessive relationship. ‘Bring Me Some Peace’ talks of therapy after a broken relationship and the difficulty of living up to expectations when in the public eye as a performer. However, ‘The Coast Road’ and ‘Strange’, for example, discuss happier times to give some balance.
An album for fans of americana who also enjoy more mainstream music.