Writing on the Wall – Raintown Review



Quick blog tonight to tell you about the new Raintown album and accompanying tour.

I met Paul and Claire for the first time back in March at Country 2 Country and we chatted to them then about this album. They were one of my favourite country acts that I have interviewed as they were just so genuine and lovely and most important passionate about country music. Since then they have been busy with the album, climbing mountains for charity and playing festivals, we bumped into them at Cornbury Festival where they lit up the stage and flew the flag for British country music. The British Country Music Awards are taking place on the 24th October and Raintown are nominated for four in total and we wish them all the best with that.

Going off this album its no wonder they’re nominated for so many awards, the album has something for everyone, from up-beat country rock songs to love ballads and the overall production has classic country elements but its kept fresh and interesting. The whole album is littered with detailed lyrics and interesting concepts delivered by two great vocalists. Theres a few co-writes on there with Brian Hughes I believe as well. ‘Writing on the Wall’ opens the album with a strong intro, we hear Claire’s vocals first. The chorus is great, its really catchy, riddled with hooks, it reminds me of ‘Nashville Honky Tonks’ – I just want to dance along. ‘If This Was a Love Song’ is my favourite track on the album, the production is lovely from the quaver note down stroke guitar to the Pedal Steel and Backing Vocals which seem to just wash over you. Its a beautiful concept and both Claire and Paul’s vocals are very strong on this track, I feel they’ve captured the chemistry and energy between the two of them on this song.

Studying songwriting we learn a lot of lyrical techniques but just because we have to use them and learn about them doesn’t mean we can all do it successfully and one technique I can’t do to a high standard is the list lyric, however Paul and Claire can and thats just what they do at the start of ‘Living the Same Old Song’, “Theres a coffee brewing, theres a storm thats coming, there’s a conversation we’ve both been ignoring.” And there’s so much detail in the lyric of this song too, it’s very well crafted. I absolutely love the chorus in the next song though, ‘Forever isn’t Long Enough’. There’s a kind of vocal swell, the harmonies and Backing Vocals are such a high standard, throughout the album actually, I haven’t heard such tight and effective use of harmonies in a long while.

‘Right Here With Me’ is about the duo’s experiences in Nashville, and this is one that they co-wrote with Brian Hughes. In the next song though Claire demonstrates why she’s nominated for Female Vocalist of the year at the BCMA’s, her vocals are so strong throughout this song, they really are fantastic and it has a strong chorus too. Then the album takes a different turn, we see a feistier side to the couple with ‘Shut the Front Door’. Paul delivers a great vocal performance and the song has a really cool concept. The pre-chorus is strong, it flows really well into the chorus which appears to be in double time, I like that a lot, I can imagine all of us rocking out to this at Country 2 Country 2016.

I love storytelling lyrics and thats just what ‘Nineteen Again’ does very well, and to an extent so does ‘Missing You’. The lyric in this is more conversational and this is depicted in the breakdown of the vocals, which sections are sung by Paul and which are “answered” by Claire. The Hammond B3 is really nice and my ears perked up at the bridge/middle 8, I struggle to write those so appreciate a well written bridge. ‘Feel Much Better’ is one of the strongest Country-Pop songs I’ve heard all year and once again the Backing Vocals and Harmonies are on point, very well devised.

When we interviewed Raintown back in March they talked about the songs coming from personal experience, this next song ‘See You Again’ is heartbreaking, you can hear the pain and emotion in Claire’s vocals. Its such a delicate song about pain and loss but also hope and we can all relate to that, it brought tears to my eyes and that last chorus was just beautiful. And talking of beautiful, the album ends with ‘Beautiful Life’ and its a smart move this song is up beat and real, “Those bills keep on coming, somehow they get paid” it relates to everyday life but at the end of the day it’s a Beautiful Life, and thats a lovely sentiment and it’s a lovely album, fantastic in fact and I really can not wait to see what Raintown does with this live. And don’t forget you can catch them on tour now, I’ve put the dates below and if you don’t yet have a copy of ‘Writing on the Wall’, change that! Thanks for reading folks!

Tuesday 13th October – Glasgow Art School

Wednesday 14th October – Manchester Academy 3

Thursday 15th October – London The Borderline

Just Zoe x

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