Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this edition of the Independent Spotlight, I’m going to be checking out ‘Through the Windshield,’ the sophomore effort of Jacob Bryant, an up and coming country performer from Georgia. The album is a follow-up to his well-received self-titled debut and subsequent tour throughout the southeast and midwest. On ‘Windshield,’ he’s attempting to break new ground with driving new songs and country/gospel jams.
It’s worth noting that even though Bryant is billed as a songwriter, especially in regard to some of his previous endeavors and awards, this album doesn’t have too much penned by him. He co-wrote a couple songs with a few notable lyricists, but otherwise the tracks have been written by someone else. That’s fine and most country artists embrace good lyricists. Hell, that’s what the entire city of Nashville is built on: good songwriting. I just thought it seemed pertinent to giving context to the record to mention that it isn’t all right out of his own book.
To put this record quite simply - it does what it does well. It sounds exactly like every other contemporary country record. Bryant and company don’t ever delve into unexpected or particularly creative territory. It’s a tad cookie-cutter in that regard. With that said, I can’t hold it against him. This music sounds like this because that’s what its audience enjoys and expects. Bryant is just as strong of a country vocalist as any other popular country artists dominating the CMA’s. He commands excellent presence over his band. (A powerhouse band, I should add.)
I do love that the sound of his music does delve into some rock territory. The title track is a superb example of that and I adore the lead guitarist. ‘Save My Soul’ is a particularly good track as well, delving into the Christian gospel territory that Bryant seems to occupy as well. I dig how he incorporates a folksy gospel style into his music. In fact, ‘Just Enough Jesus’ is the best track of the five by a significant margin. That track is spectacular.
‘Through the Windshield’ is an impressive indie country record that remains interesting and stays pretty true to the modern country sound. I won’t really dig into whether or not I like that sound, because that’s a whole other ballgame. I can acknowledge Bryant’s mastery of it, though, and it’s worth checking out if contemp country is your thing.