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Heidi Howe - Be Good

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It's blasphemy for mainstream country singers to admit they love both the Ramones and George Jones in the same breath, but Heidi Howe doesn't have any hesitation in pointing to these two sonic opposites as being equally inspirational to her. In fact, she describes this paradoxical musical influence as her kind of religion on the song "The Ramones & George Jones." Whether or not you want to call Howe some kind of artistic cultist is entirely up to you. You can't deny her talent, though.

Howe's voice might be an acquired taste for some, as she sounds a lot like little girl when she sings. Ah, but that voice is country through and through! The way she sings lovesick blues during "Stand" is a thing of pure, traditional country beauty as Howe emotes over a twang-y electric guitar accompaniment about being June Carter to her Johnny Cash.

On "The Ramones & George Jones," Howe's father advises her to love country music, even though it may not be cool among her peer group. And then on "Kind of Crazy," Howe discovers somebody just as crazy as she is. She's always stepped to her own beat, one imagines, and probably always will. That may not bode well for mainstream country music success. Even so, Kacey Musgraves was a big breakthrough country artist in 2013, so there may just be room on the charts for a Ramones and George Jones-loving country singer like Heidi Howe.

Heidi Howe - Be Good
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