Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Album review: Always Never Enough by Catherine Britt

Catherine Britt is probably younger than you think. It certainly seems like she should be older, as she has released several albums and played at many a Tamworth Country Music Festival. But she's not that old - only twenty-six. So maybe it's a bit early to say that Always Never Enough is her masterpiece, but I'm going to say it anyway.

In a year that has seen some really wonderful country or country-esque releases, this is a standout. And I must be honest and say I didn't expect it. Catherine has been a consistent singer-songwriter over the course of her previous four albums and one EP. Consistent, and consistently improving. She has had the air of 'next big thing' around her for a while and it seemed like she was just waiting for the right album to make it real. If this album doesn't do it for her, I will despair at the state of the world in general.

There is not a single lacklustre song on this album. Not a single song that I want to skip over or not pay close attention to. From the opening fire of the title track, through the wistful 'Charlestown Road', 'Good Few Years' and 'Our Town', and the more traditional country constructions 'Addicted to the Pain', 'She Ain't Going Nowhere' (the only song not written by Britt) and 'Thank God There is a Train', there is a range of styles here and sophistication in delivering them.

'Sally Bones' and 'There's Gotta Be More' are outstanding, as is 'I'm Your Biggest Fan' – written about Britt's brother, it could be saccharine but it is very well observed, inspiring without being schmaltzy.

The other tracks - 'Mind Your Own Business', 'Troubled Man' (sung with Tim Rogers) and 'All I Recall' - round out what is an eclectic collection that is produced throughout with the same amount of care and, dare one say it, love. These songs have been loved - by Catherine and her producer, Bill Chambers, and also, it seems, by the musicians who play on them. This is an album that will just not let you go - you will think about these songs when you're not listening to them, and you will dream about the characters in them. By achieving this, Catherine has paid the biggest possible compliment to the genre that she's grown up in: she's telling stories, and they are great ones.

Always Never Enough by Catherine Britt is released on 10 August 2012, through Universal.

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