Award-winning singer-songwriter Vanessa Delaine makes her highly-anticipated return to music with the recent release of her third album, Wild & Free.
The adopted Australian artist – who originally came from New Zealand – has called the music industry, and the country genre home since the early 1990s. Over the course of her career, she has won numerous accolades from national and international award committees such as the NZ Golden Guitars, Tamworth Songwriting Competition and the Australian International Black Opal Songwriting Competition.
Notable mentions over the last two years include single Moon Blues (from her second record) taking out Best Blues Song at the 2016 Akademia Music Awards and placing as a semi-finalist in this year’s Los Angeles Cine Fest in the film short category for the same song.
With all this in mind, one cannot be blamed for having high expectations when it comes to Delaine’s recent release – despite not having listened to the previous music for which she has received such critical acclaim.
From the second opening track Wild Wind Blows starts, Delaine’s voice rings pure and true. it’s a nice bluesy rock intro for those unfamiliar with the artist’s work up to this point. Time to Let Loose continues to allow listeners to settle into the unique country-blues sound, before it hits its stride with third track Good Advice.
Often, the appeal of country music lies more in the slower tracks and the ability to really focus on lyrical content. If this is your preference, Everything To Me is going to be a favourite. Soft, unassuming yet heartfelt, it’s everything listeners want from a country song, and offers a nice change of pace from the upbeat tempo of the album’s first few tracks.
Continuing with the slightly slower pace of the previous tracks, The Storm and Raw’s stronger blues infusion make them stand outs for me. These are the songs in which Delaine’s union of the blues and country genres is most evident and the arrangement, as well as the lyrics, make them almost perfect.
This section – for lack of a better word – finishes strongly with Rainy Day before No Tomorrow marks a return to more upbeat tracks such as those featured in the album’s opening. While Wild Child and Live For Today aren’t my favourites on the record, they do showcase Delaine’s ability to cater to those with varying tastes in the country music genre and I’m certain they’ll find a place in the heart of many fans.
Nothing To Give is an unusual choice as an album closer. At just over two and a half minutes, it’s almost like one of those hidden tracks you’re not really expecting but tend to love just the same.
Looking at the cover of Delaine’s Wild & Free, those, like myself, who were unfamiliar with her work may expect an album full of true country songs, more in the same vein of Kalesti Butler or El Cosgrove. Delaine is something different altogether, and truly an artist of her own making.
I will definitely be taking a look at her back catalogue in the near future and look forward to hearing more from this surprising singer/songwriter.