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Review: Hailey Whitters - Black Sheep
Jeremy Williams-Chalmers, Arts Correspondent
Hailey Whitters
Born and raised in Shueyville, Iowa, rising country talent Hailey Whitters is the oldest of six children from a strict Catholic family, who explained her move into music and something she just a had a 'weird inkling to do'.

Having not grown up in an extremely musical family, her passion for country stemmed from her own exploration of the genre as a teen. With the Dixie Chicks, Trisha Yearwood and Patty Loveless as her initial icons, she relocated to Nashville aged just 17 to chase her dream. Having worked as a waitress, a nanny and a receptionist, she has paid her dues and now hopes that her début album Black Sheep will ensure she prospers in the discipline she has chosen.

Opener Long Come To Jesus immediately proves that she is the type of country artist who is able to straddle conventions both old and new to create something fresh and exciting. To be filed alongside Kacey Musgraves and Lindi Ortega, Whitters is an intelligent, witty songstress who is unafraid to tackle weighty subjects and personal exploration.

However it is with coming of age song Late Bloomer that the record really starts to shine. A charismatic, no nonsense approach that is strikingly complex and deep, Whitters has crafted a timeless classic that will be referred to in years to come as definitive of her artistic depth.

While Black Sheep wouldn't be out of place on an early Sheryl Crow album, the insightful delivery and stoic drive make it memorable. The irrepressible Pocket Change has an air of Shea Seger meeting Shelby Lynne, it proves itself the biggest earworm of the collection and will have you singing it on repeat for days after your first hear it.

With echoes of Mindy McCready circa If I Don't Stay The Night, the raw album closer Get Around explores the struggle faced when in between relationships - the battle of being emotionally unavailable yet physically in need. With a lyrical prowess that knocks you for six, this is a strong contender for song of the year.

As débuts go, Black Sheep is one of the finest you will hear in 2015 and has her cleverly positioned as a Deana Carter for the new generation. A headstrong, lyrically intelligent and witty presence, Hailey Whitters is one to keep a very close eye on as she inevitably rises through the ranks to superstardom.

Review: Hailey Whitters - Black Sheep, 24th October 2015, 11:45 AM