Country music might not be something that readily springs to mind when you think of British musicians, but singer-songwriter Sasha McVeigh of the UK has well and truly been adopted into the country scene in the US. Having spent the American summers of 2013 and 2014 on the country music festival circuit and performing on stage with big names like Tim McGraw and Keith Urban, McVeigh has already started to build up a following for the release of her debut album I Stand Alone, which was funded through Kickstarter.
It’s a really sweet record that’s got enough variety to let us know McVeigh has a lot of creative capability but still sounds well at home alongside other her fellow country contemporaries. What was a big thumbs up for me was how personal the delivery was throughout the album. This struck me in the first track Mr Brown Eyes, where McVeigh giggles halfway through the second verse, and I could just imagine her smiling, bopping and having a great time as she was recording, and for that I also had a smile on my face. Her delivery comes across in a way that tells us she really loves what she is doing when she is writing and performing.
Not only can Sasha McVeigh write songs that are really enjoyable to listen to for their melodies and relatable lyrics, her vocals are clean, dynamic and do every song justice. A highlight for me was the relatively slow and stripped back Crooked Road where McVeigh has a particularly intimate connection with the listener and, at moments, reminds me a bit of Alison Krauss. At other times, like in the more rocky tune Hot Mess, McVeigh gives a little more attitude to equally pleasurable effect.
McVeigh stays true to her passion for country musical qualities throughout the record, from themes of lost chances in romance in Two Ships, to distinct vocal harmonies in the title track and of course the pedal steel guitar wafting around subtly in the background on multiple tracks.
It’s hard to come up with something completely novel in the vein of country songwriting, but I Stand Alone is an album that suggests Sasha McVeigh is going to be a really significant figure in country music further down the track. If the melodic bucket list of a song You Only Live Once is anything to go by, this infectiously melodic artist has a lot more things in store for us!