I’ve seen Kirsty Lee Akers perform live a few times, and each time I’ve been impressed: she has a fantastic voice and she engages well with an audience. But in the past I hadn’t found that her recorded work matched her live performance. She’s not the first artist this has happened to, of course. The electricity of a live performance can be hard to capture in a studio environment, perhaps because the audience isn’t there for the artist to work off, especially if they’re an artist who needs that or thrives on it. So that’s why there has been no coverage of Akers on this site, until now.
When I first heard Akers’s new album, Burn Baby Burn, my thought was: Finally. As in, finally there was an album that showcased her properly. Akers’s voice, with the wrong songs, could sound too much like pop when she’s actually got a great country voice. She can slip and slide into and out of notes with the best of them. She has a twang that lends itself far more to country than pop, and she has a knowing quality that is often absent in pop.
On Burn Baby Burn she now has the songs that allow her to show off her abilities while also making capturing some of the catchiness of pop that keeps people coming back for more. If it’s not entirely the album I want from her – I’m convinced she’s got some grit to uncover or explore – it’s still an album I’ve been listening to happily, over and over, because it’s a pleasure.
Burn Baby Burn is out now through Maven Records/Sony.