Almost There is the third studio album by Philadelphia’s Suzie Brown. The cardiologist turned singer-songwriter shines with heart-filled vocals on an album full of rootsy, laidback tracks. Brown beds down in the folk tradition on the 11-song collection, which spans from tender to bluesy to full of cheer. Almost There has been featured at Starbucks, The Gap and Anthropologie. The pleasant yet routine ballads create the perfect backdrop for a montage of lemonade stands and lazy Saturday mornings. You will want to spin this while you are dancing in the kitchen and trying not to burn the pancakes.
The album starts out with an upbeat number called "Almost There". The beat is almost as infectious as the vocal melody and fills you with an exuberant kinetic energy. "Sugar Blues" is a soulful song that combines vocal harmonies, organ, guitar, and percussion to create a fantastic sounding canvas for Brown to sing over.
The sound has a vintage, porchy feel. At times the lyrics are honest and detailed, like on “Almost There,” the title track. At times they feel inaccessible, like on “Fell Down,” a cryptic song about the Sandy Hook shootings. “Own Little Show” is playful and romantic but never feels corny.
The upbeat tracks on Almost There are hard to top. For example, the percussion really sparkles on “Everywhere I Go” while “I’m Gonna Be a Wheel One Day” is the shortest but also one of the standout tracks on the album.
Musical collaboration is the strongest aspect of this album and pushes this effort into excellence. Brown wisely introduced her honeyed, dimensional voice to the twangy Nashville sound of producer Oliver Wood of the Wood Brothers. The vocals were recorded live with the band, 11 tracks in just 7 days. The idea was to capture the electric energy of the collaboration and allow the music to retain its live texture. As Brown continues to develop her sound, I look forward to hearing her push Americana rock closer to the edge.
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