One Of Country Music’s Most Soulful Vocalists, Brett Eldredge Journeys To The Heart On His New Album “Sunday Drive”. Paul Sammon Buckles Up And Gives Us His View From The Passenger Seat…
He’s back. With a great selection of songs that encompass many emotions, here’s my thoughts on Brett Eldredge’s mellow new album, “Sunday Drive”.
Setting the tone for the whole album, Where the Heart Is, starts off nice & smooth. I get this feeling it’s perhaps aimed at society or possibly his fans, rather than an ex-lover. But maybe I just want to hear it that way. “What do we see when we look in the mirror? Cause I’m just looking for something true.” Either way, I like it and I’m reminded how much I love his voice.
I honestly had to check my phone hadn’t stopped playing as the intro to The One You Need builds from silence so slowly before the guitar is audible. Maybe I’m getting old. I have been 28 for many years now. However, that aside, it’s a beautiful song. Offering himself as, y’know, check the title. There’s a lovely use of orchestral strings in the track that really works. Just lovely.
A joyous reflection on a past, young love is how I hear Magnolia. It’s catchy, that’s for sure and captures the essence of a great country tune. Great mandolin, great chorus and it doesn’t even matter we don’t know her name. Dancing ‘neath that Magnolia is enough.
One of the reasons I like this album is how differently the tracks have been produced. Crowd My Mind is piano heavy and a soulful reflection on a lost love and it sounds older than its time. That’s not a criticism by the way. I’ll wager you’ll be singing along by the end of the song, even on the first listen.
Good Day caught me out, I have to say. It wasn’t until I’d listened to the album several times that I realised, ‘Hang on, I really like this song.’ If you see on your friend’s page “Name a song to cheer me up,” you can throw this at them. It’s fantastic. Please check the lyrics while it’s playing and I guarantee you’ll smile and music is meant to make you feel, right? This is a great ‘happy feeling’ song. It almost has a musical theatre, dancing down the street vibe. I love it.
Now, some albums are criticised for being ‘samey’ but, even though, six tracks in, we’re offered a third love song, the arrangement is different enough to feel fresh. Fall For Me is a song dedicated to the one you want to be yours and leaves you asking ‘Would you…?’ It has an essence of pop about it and I think it would actually make a great single.
If you’re listening to the album while you’re doing something, stop. Sit, close your eyes and pay attention to the title track, Sunday Drive. Brett takes you on a journey to childhood, spending time with the folks and going out in the car, just being a family. Granted, I relate to this song on a personal level, but, even so, I hope you all find something here that will make your heart melt. Wait until the last verse… Ironically, this is the only track on the album where Brett doesn’t have a writing credit.
Up next, a cheery look at death, or rather life, with When I Die. “Don’t lay me down in a bed of dirt, shoot me off in a bottle rocket in the sky.” I like the mentality of the song. If you’re ever at a funeral feeling down, just try and think “Don’t be sad they’re gone, just be glad they were ever here.” I get that from this song. Think happy thoughts, right?
I heard Gabrielle weeks back and thought it was a Phil Vassar tune from the intro. Very ‘happy piano’ if that makes sense? And, even though it’s a breakup song, with such a jolly melody you can’t help but feel uplifted when you give it a listen. Another sing-a-long that’ll put a spring in your step and a smile on your face.
With a hint of Jazz and soul, Fix a Heart is another ‘please love me’ offering. While I certainly can’t disagree with the sentiment of the lyrics, I’m not sold on the delivery if I can be honest? It just seems a little dreary and the New Orleans sound doesn’t quite work here I feel.
If you’ve ever been on that rollercoaster of love with all the ups and downs, then you’ll appreciate this tune. There’s a lot all crammed in to just over three minutes of Then You Do but he gets it right. Not much else to say about this tune, really. It’ll speak to some and be skipped by others.
And, finally, to Brett’s birthplace, Paris Illinois. A short song that develops into a horned instrumental that’s like a warm summer breeze that just flows effortlessly. A nice end to an album that would be a great soundtrack to cleaning the house or background to reading a book. I do like the album, but I’m worried I may tire of it too soon. For me there are only a few ‘sit up and listen’ moments, like Good Day or Sunday Drive, and I hope you find yours but, that said, I feel it’s done what it set out to do. It makes us feel warm and happy with Brett back on our speakers.
Brett Eldredge “Sunday Drive” – Track Listing
1. Where The Heart Is
2. The One You Need
4. Crowd My Mind
5. Good Day
6. Fall For Me
7. Sunday Drive
8. When I Die
10. Fix A Heart
11. Then You Do
12. Paris, Illinois