Kaleigh – Country Class
Kaleigh, the “stage name” for twenty year old Kaleigh Krause, has a full plate. She wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s nearing completing of a four year English degree at UCLA, appearing on popular television shows for NBC and ABC, writing continuously, recording music, and scoring spots on national commercials for Famous Footwear and Nike. It illustrates the breadth of her ambition, but ambition doesn’t amount to much if you lack the talent to realize your dreams. Kaleigh, thankfully, has substantial talent and a strong work ethic. Her latest single “Country Class” illustrates exponential growth following on the heels of her earlier track “Twisted // Mistake” and reveals clear-eyed maturity writing about two people forging a powerful bond despite hailing from disparate backgrounds, but the true mark of her advancement can be heard in its accessibility. Kaleigh is definitely writing and recording music true to herself, but she is likewise producing work that invites listeners of every stripe to enjoy and relate to her work.
Kaleigh wholeheartedly embraces a rugged blues rock sound with this track, evident from the wailing slide guitar work we hear from the outset and the assertive power of her voice matches up nicely with the song’s musical character. The rest of the band plays with equal force – the drumming, in particular, lays down a thunderous foundation for the other players to build upon. The song’s arrangement gives “Country Class” much of its rambunctious flavor, but an approach that could easily lapse into overwrought histrionics never does. Instead, it comes off as Kaleigh likely intended – impassioned and uncompromising while still brimming over with authentic bluesy soul.
Her voice brings much of that soul to bear. We hear it clean, uninhibited, during the verses, but the production effects applied to her vocal during the song’s chorus and eventual bridge do nothing to dilute the quality of her singing. It has the opposite effect – it underlines the commitment she brings to each line and focuses our attention, even more, on how well she works with the surrounding instrumentation. She wrings out every possibility from the lyrical content – it’s clear, even with a cursory listen, that Kaleigh is a talented lyricist as well as a first rate singer and there’s a welcome refusal to accept any fat or dross in her writing style that neatly dovetails into the arrangement.
The song has an ideal running time, never taxing listeners patience, and you may even find yourself wishing it could go on another thirty seconds. “Country Class” benefits, as well, from outstanding production that gives the track a visceral physicality – it’s a song that gets up in your face without ever being abrasive and surges with youthful energy. The instruments are rendered with warmth and tactile power. Kaleigh will likely enjoy success in her various pursuits for years to come, but one listen to this song clearly shows that she was born for this and her performing and writing skills will only continue to grow from here. “Country Class” will appeal to hardcore and casual music fans alike.
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