Album Review: Kylie Nicole, “Stay”

The dream of any blogger, social media influencer and lover of music is to find themselves in the situation of experiencing a brand new talent on the music scene that has the “it” factor.  To do your thing in a way that helps these obscure artists find some measure of success and help them grow their circle of exposure.  For me, having done all this for a short 6-7 months, I thought it to early for this to happen to me.  I was wrong.

Long story short- we took a night to drive down to Franklin, Tennessee to attend a Songwriters Showcase at The Whiskey Room Live, a bowling alley lounge that livestreams their showcases on the internet.  Three artist an hour, taking turns on the stage to play some of their own music.  Honestly, I had gone down to listen to Cletis Carr, a wonderful Australian musician I have been following for some time. In Cletis’ trio of musicians was this young lady in her twenties, stuck between two old guys.  Her name was Kylie Nicole.

Kylie Nicole Feltenberger had an unorthodox upbringing, growing up in a military family that moved frequently throughout her youth.  Now in her twenties, “Stay” explores the emotions of life as seen through the eyes of a young adult musician.  Most of the songs deal with the subject of love and relationships, and do so in a way that draws the listener in and connects to the feelings we have all experienced.

“Stay” is Kylie’s sophomore offering, a five song EP with a fantastic sound.  The title song showcases and highlights Kylie’s talent as a songwriter and singer.  The words beautifully capture the emotion of that one relationship that had the “it” potential, but faded away into something less perfect, less desirable.  The mixed emotions of this situation are perfectly captured by her sweet, thoughtful and moving vocals.  “Third Degree Burns” is what new contemporary country should sound like.  Her voice hints at a measured power that is very hard to come by, and it is backed by a powerhouse of sound that beautifully complements everything she is trying to accomplish vocally.  “Driftin'” has an island feel to it and works on so many levels, a fun song that causes arms, legs and heads to move to the beat.

From a production standpoint, this is as clean a mix as you can expect from a new artist, easily rivaling what you hear on commercial radio.  The balance is spot on, and the quality of musicianship behind the vocals is top studio quality.  Produced by Jeff Feltenberger and Jason Shaffer, with mixing and mastering by Shaffer.  The solo guitar of Dustin Douglas on “Hurricane” cuts through with the driving hard rock sound which is finding its way into today’s country music, and the Lap Steel and Dobro work of Alan Starner adds incredible depth and layers to “Stay”.   Combine all this with a very solid rhythm section of Ron Simasek (Drums), Jeff Feltenberger (Guitar) and Steve Feltenberger (Bass) and you have all the makings of a top rate sound, certainly worthy of mainstream attention.

But, the focus should be on the songwriting and singing of Kylie Nicole.  An incredible talent, and someone to keep an eye on.  I know I will.

Coz

“Stay” is available on Spotify, iTunes and Apple Music, and Kylie Nicole will soon be featured in rotation on Music Mafia Radio.

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