Stacy Lantz is the picture of Nashville’s music scene. No longer “just country” the classic intricacies of Lantz’s style keep listeners happy and craving more. Her bandcamp page describes her vocals as “piercing,” which might be the single best word for her. To say her voice is “clear” does an insult to just how absolutely lucid it is. Melodic, sweet, but still cutting deep. Stacy Lantz is a vocalist that encapsulates her era as a pinnacle of myriad musical styles.
The opening track “Keep It Simple” has a sound reflective of bygone eras of strong female vocalists before the age of the diva. It puts listeners more in mind of Patsy Cline than those who followed. The second track takes a time warp to the early 2000s, with a commercial country sound. Then the synth sounds of “All We Do Is Sleep” could be from the 1980s. Lantz’s vocal clarity is the best part of the track, but the song itself is interesting. It’s basically about how love grows in our dreams, so all we do is sleep.
The title track “Ready This Time” is definitely one of the best on the album. The rest of the band chills out for this one, with an acoustic guitar and Lantz’s gorgeous vocal lead doing the hard work. “So go on and love me… say what’s on your mind… come on and trust me. I’m ready this time.” Whew. Now there’s a love song lyric. How many people can relate to giving a relationship a second try? It’s gorgeous. In fact, it might just be a song of the year nominee. It would have been amazing to have a whole album with this kind of song.
“Night Owl (Who Are You)” has brilliant phrasing and a delightful upbeat feeling to it. It’s about optimism in a potential relationship. It’s about that initial moment, unsure of who someone is, but desiring to meet them. It’s a real radio hit. Putting listeners in the mind of the best of what Zoey Dechanel brought to the duo She and Him, it’s a lovely cute style that sounds good through Lantz’s versatile voice.
“Past This Part,” featuring David Ramirez, is a phenomenal song. The piano combined with the male-female duo is exquisite. For those of us missing the Civil Wars, this song might just help hold us over. “More than a lingered goodbye… too stubborn to try… why can’t we see past this part?” It’s about a fight in a relationship and it’s serious. The lyrics are perfectly punctuated with the vocal blending from Lantz and Ramirez. Again, it’s a radio hit. Try requesting it at your local country station.
In a similar vein, “We’ll Make It Through” has male-female duo vocal blending and a soft background. The lyrics highlight life spent together and in love. Listeners might imagine it being played at an anniversary party. It’s about resilience, perseverance, and deep love. It’s romantic in the truest sense.
“Say Anything” is the poppiest song on the album. The electronic-sounding kick drum and 80s guitar riffs are a sonic time warp. The snappy track “Happy” has an updated-but-still-classic country sound. It’s what Patsy Kline would sound like if she were making music today. The last track “Love is on the other side” is a classic country female ballad ala Reba McIntire or Martina McBride. Complete with steel guitar and hand claps, it’s an arena-filling song. The key lyric, “love is on the other side” again highlights a double-edged theological and resilient message. It sounds like contemporary Nashville, with flourishes toward gospel, blues, country, and modern rock.
All told, the album is a mish-mash of Nashville today. The songs that are good, are really good. While I try to pull my personal preference out and award good music for what it is, my preference for stripped down sounds definitely comes through in my impression of the album. A few songs will contend for song of the year for me, while others are less exciting for my personal taste. It will be interesting to hear the next iteration in Lantz’s career. It seems she could go toward the commercial country realm and land a big contract, or she might continue along The Civil Wars vein, preferring simpler duo tracks. I, pretty obviously, prefer the latter. This album is one that fans of modern country should strongly consider.