Even the sweetest songs on Courtney Patton’s third studio album sting.
So This Is Life, the Stephenville-bred and Granbury-based singer-songwriter’s newest collection and the follow-up to 2013’s Triggering a Flood, derives as much power from her arresting voice as it does her incredible songcraft. Produced by Drew Kennedy, these dozen tunes are timeless, sharply observed slices of life, rendered in pop-dusted country hewing closer to the genre’s traditions than such a description might suggest — Patton’s style is more Grand Ole Opry than CMT.
Patton, who married fellow Texan tunesmith Jason Eady last year (he contributed a song to Life; Patton authored the other 11), excels when charting the depths of heartbreak: “I don’t need much; I’ve survived on less/But I’m worth a little if I ain’t worth the best,” she sings on the bruising Battle These Blues.
Life, in all its complexities, is a vast, daunting subject, but Patton’s intimate, vivid songs effortlessly pull you in close. Patton will perform, along with Eady, on July 5 at Fort Worth’s Live Oak Music Hall & Lounge.
The Orange, ‘Sharing Vitamins’
Dallas septet The Orange describes its sound as “neo-psychedelic rock,” but it’s the ’90s, rather than the ’60s, most evident throughout these 12 songs. (Sharing Vitamins’ opener, La La Land, sounds like a long-lost Oasis B-side.) Vitamins, the band’s first full-length album (following 2008 EP A Sonic Collection of Short Stories From La La Land), does manage to evoke the past without seeming like a lifeless rehash. Led by vocalist/guitarist Scott Tucker, the Orange, working with producer Eric Delegard, does eventually wander back in a more tie-dyed direction — Mr. Money-Maker and Skin provide a nice kick of nostalgia. But no matter the decade, the Orange makes an impression. The Orange performs, joined by Jetta in the Ghost Tree, Dove Hunter, Exit 380 and the Azalea Project, on Saturday at Granada Theater.
LEV, ‘Fear No Evil’
Tyler-born, Dallas-based singer-songwriter Holly Peyton, who performs as LEV, makes a striking first impression on her debut EP, Fear No Evil. This five-song pleasure bomb marks Peyton as a child of the ’80s — glimmering synths and gated drums abound — but one able to evoke the past without simply recycling what came before. Teamed with producer Eric Neal (local luminary David Castell mixed the EP), Peyton begins Evil with Shadow, one of the most dazzling local tracks I’ve heard recently (visions of the much-missed Fight Bite danced in my head), and impresses more with each successive song, capping things off with the sensual, tropical disco of Try. One of the strongest area debuts of 2015.
Preston Jones, 817-390-7713