It’s always exciting to come across a new and promising country artist just as their career is beginning. A few months back we got the opportunity to feature a country artist like that in the form of Kristi Hoopes. She’s from Parker, Colorado and is only 17 years old, yet sounds like she’s been making music for a while. Derek took a look at her debut single back in April, “At Least It’s Something,” and came away impressed. From his review: “At Least it’s Something” is decidedly country in sound and subject manner. It’s an acoustic, slow tempo song with a prevalent fiddle and a bit of a steel guitar ring within the chorus. In fact the fiddle leads the instrumental solo of the song. It might be just a tad over produced in some areas, but overall the production and instrumentation of this song is excellent. It’s not a pop country anthem; it is a tried and true country heartbreak ballad.
I completely agree with Derek, as it was a refreshing song to hear after listening to some of the stuff from mainstream country. So when I found out Hoopes just came out with her second single, I was eager to give it a listen and review. It’s titled “In My Own Sweet Time” and it takes on a happier tone than the first single. It’s a mid to fast tempo paced song about living life at your own pace and taking things in the way you want to take them in. It very much fits with Hoopes’ age, as the song has a youthful and fun vibe. The songwriting is definitely a little more formulaic on this single compared to her last single, but then again I also think it has more of a direction and theme. The reason it might feel a little more formulaic is the songwriters behind it. Those songwriters are Jessi Alexander (who co-wrote several songs on Ashley Monroe’s new album), Jon Randall and Jennette McCurdy. These songwriters have been involved a lot with the bigger names in Nashville and write more within the Nashville formula. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing of course.
It’s also worth pointing out that this is the first song Kristi Hoopes has ever recorded that she didn’t write herself. Now anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I think it’s important for artists to write a lot of their music, as it allows them to connect to it easier and this manifest itself in the song. On the other hand though there are several great songwriters out there who have great material that deserves to be recorded by talented artists and it’s something all artists should consider. Hoopes clearly did this here, as I think this is a good song and something that fits her well. While this song maintains a fun attitude, it also maintains a clear country sound too with plenty of fiddle throughout it. There are some touches of mainstream country influence, but it helps the song rather than hurt it.
While I liked Hoopes’ first single a little bit more, “In My Own Sweet Time” is still a solid song that I enjoy. It’s an encouraging sign to see Hoopes hook up with and record songs by some notable names so early in her career. She’s clearly catching people’s attention and for good reason. Hoopes is a talented artist with a load of potential and room for even more growth. She is currently pushing to be a Highway Find on Sirius XM The Highway and I think she has a good chance. This is a song I could see getting some radio play on satellite radio and launching her career. Clare Dunn took a similar path and is now with a major label. I think it could happen for Hoopes too.