She may have come in second on last season’s American Idol, but I think most everyone could agree Crystal Bowersox was the true artist to watch over winner Lee Dewyze. While he may have got the popular vote, Crystal grabbed the critical vote and is now winning over critics and fans with her debut album Farmer’s Daughter. It’s a very strong and solid record that speaks to all of Crystal’s strengths authentic vocals, moving story telling songs, great instrumentation and an honest sensibility. Here’ you can find her influences like Janis Joplin, Alanis Morissette, Sheryl Crow and Melissa Etheridge mixing well with her bluesy-rock and country coffee-house roots. I sure hope she gets some good promotion and becomes the second Idol runner-up in a row (after Adam Lambert) to outshine the winner in sales. It already looks like she will outsell Dewyze’s album by at least 10,000 copies according to current projections for Daughter which came out on Tuesday, 12/14. I’ve had it on repeat all day and here’s my quick take on each of the album’s songs.
Crystal Bowersox ~ Farmer’s Daughter:
1. “Riding With the Radio”- it’s an earnest country rock track reminiscent of Miranda Lambert and Gretchen Wilson about the sad state of popular music. It’s also a good time.
2. “For What it’s Worth”: sampling Bob Dylan on this one, Bowersox brings out her inner Alanis over a shuffling country rock beat.
3. “Farmer’s Daughter”: this is the standout track and the fantastic first single. It’s a powerful song about the abuse she suffered at the hands of her alcoholic mother and the road to recovery and reconciliation. It’s very confessional and even Grammy worthy.
4. “Holy Toledo”: this is the song we heard on Idol last season when she visited her hometown and it honors the spirit of the people there~ a lovely original ballad.
5. “Lonely Won’t Come Around”: Crystal goes more commercial on this one with an upbeat Jason Mraz meets Sara Bareilles sound that features a whistling chorus and could be a radio hit. It seems like a song the producers wanted her to do to give the album a more commercial feel.
6. “Hold On”: another commercial song, this one co-written by ousted Idol judge Kara Dioguardi, “Hold On” is a standard story about young love gone wrong that is very radio ready. It benefits from Bowersox’s authentic performance that overcomes the generic lyrics.
7. “On the Run”: fun bluesy rock, another song written by Bowersox pre-Idol.
8. “Kiss Ya”: this is Crystal channelling Melissa Etheridge at her best.
9. “Speak Now”: here she brings in the bluesy gospel soul that she showed early in the competition and in her final performance of “Up to the Mountain”.
10. “Mine all Mine”: it’s a gorgeous country-tinged love song.
11. “Mason”: this duet with her new husband is a great rock ballad about the power of enduring love.
12. “Arlene”: the final track on the album is a simple song that brings you full circle to Bowersox’s coffeehouse roots.
All in all it’s a really good album. Grade: A-
Here’s Crystal’s new single “Farmer’s Daughter” from her performance on The Tonight Show
And ranking Crystal’s debut alongside other first album by Idol finalists, she makes my top 5!
Best American Idol Debut Albums….
1. Some Hearts- Carrie Underwood
2. Daughtry- Daughtry
3. Thankful- Kelly Clarkson (and mind you she’s still my fave!)
4. For Your Entertainment- Adam Lambert
5. Farmer’s Daughter- Crystal Bowersox
6. Measure of a Man- Clay Aiken
7. Jordin Sparks- Jordin Sparks
8. Jennifer Hudson- Jennifer Hudson
9. David Archuleta- David Archulta
10. Elliott Yamin- Elliott Yamin