Yoo Seung-woo shows maturity in Early 19
Two years ago, young singer-songwriter Yoo seung-woo, then a 16-year-old high school student, impressed judges and viewers with his musicality and clear voice on singing audition program “Superstar K4.”
The young prodigy has returned to the music scene with his second EP, “Early 19,” equipped with his signature acoustic sounds and singing.
Yoo’s new album expresses his current state of mind and worries as he enters adulthood, turning 19 this year. Shedding his child-like image, Yoo proves that he can deliver a more mature sound without losing his unique color and vocal style.
The title track, “Hesitating Lips” is a song about a man who berates his lips for not being able to openly express his feelings to the woman he loves. Beginning with a jazzy and resonant piano melody, the song features a colorful pop-ballad tune that is highlighted by Yoo’s earnest singing.
“Hello my world” is a more upbeat tune, while “Baby is U” is an acoustic ballad which includes only Yoo’s voice accompanied by a simple guitar melody with light strings playing in the background.
“That day,” written by Yoo himself, further reveals the breadth of Yoo’s expressive capabilities as he sings with both ease and soul.
Eric Church returns with rich new album
Eric Church is developing two separate and distinct personalities that seem to wrestle each other in a glorious battle royal on his fourth and best album, “The Outsiders.”
There’s that guy Chief, with the hat and sunglasses and the love of rock ’n’ roll, whiskey, stubborn streaks and fistfights. And then there’s the version of Church who wins (or loses) the girl, stirs moments of universal reverie and tickles the funny bone with program director-wooing hits that appeal to country music’s bedrock fan base.
Both these guys are at their best on “The Outsiders,” one-upping each other with songs that embrace the breadth and history of country music while ignoring those conventions to explore far afield. Managing this trick requires a delicate touch, and Church and producer Jay Joyce push the limits while maintaining a balance that leaves a little something for everyone.
Tempo-shifting “Roller Coaster Ride” and funky country “Broke Record” use sonic interpretations of Church’s lyrics to rev up things. (AP)
Robert Ellis shows range on new record
“The Lights From the Chemical Plant”
Had things been different, Robert Ellis might be leading country music’s long-predicted return to its roots. Alas, Ellis finds that role unappealing and has mostly turned his back on his classic country sound with a new album of singer-songwriter-influenced material, “The Lights From the Chemical Plant.”
He’s whimsical on “TV Song,” poignant on “Chemical Plant,” nails the melancholy barroom piano ballad “Bottle of Wine” and unfurls the racing sails on “Only Lies.”
All great moments, but the best come when Ellis leans back toward his own roots. When the 25-year-old opens his mouth, we still hear the twang of southeastern Texas. And when he arranged his songs with veteran producer Jacquire King, he usually pushed Will Van Horn’s pedal often towering steel guitar to the front of the mix.
He addresses this directly on the album’s most moving track, “Houston,” a song written as he packed his things for Nashville, Tennessee, during a recent move. (AP)