“Where I Stand” is the perfect example of where country music needs to position itself today, a place from where it is able to move confidently forward without losing those who have been in love with the music since way back when. It is woven with enough recognisable sounds that the old school will love it, it has the swagger and rule breaking attitude to please the alternative and outlaw aficionados, it pops with enough mainstream appeal to move beyond the generic confines, find a wider audience and it drives with an energy that will appeal to the discerning rock set. Imagine Dolly Parton’s rootsy vibes and fellow Canadian Shania Twain’s broader appeal being combined, held together by a gritty southern rock, bar band and you have an idea of just how far this record could go.
Amanda Barrett is one of those artists who, as she puts it, “came out of the womb singing,” she was a cheerleader for the Toronto Argonauts for three years and during a flight home from a game, as the passengers requested the attendants turn the lights out, her A cappella version “Turn Your Lights Down Low” by Bob Marley silenced the plane. Encouragement from the team led to her singing the national anthem to 24,000 people at Tim Horton’s Stadium in Hamilton and the first real steps to a music career had been taken.
Now she is ready to offer the world her debut album, also titled Where I Stand, an album which is the sound of country getting a makeover. But it is a make over that, whilst making some bold sonic choices, is clever enough to be shot through with the genres core and highly recognisable sounds. This girl is clever enough to know that it’s all about evolution rather than revolution and so what she offers is the perfect upgrade to a genre that sometimes gets stuck within the confines of its own traditions. No so here, this is very much the sound of “what Country Music did next.” And what it did will amaze you.