Anyone who follows Country Perspective knows that I’m a big proponent of Mickey Guyton. I was immediately impressed with her last fall when I listened to and reviewed her single “Better Than You Left Me.” It was refreshing to hear, not just a great country sounding song, but a beautiful voice like Guyton’s. In the early part of 2015, “Better Than You Left Me” started to get a lot of attention and rise up the airplay charts. I thought that country music was finally recognizing this talented artist, but unfortunately the song has yet to crack the top 30. One good piece of news for Guyton though was Brad Paisley choosing her to open for him on his tour this summer. I may not like all of Paisley’s music lately, but choosing Guyton for his tour was a very good move and will undoubtedly raise the stature of Guyton. Even better news was Guyton recently releasing a self-titled EP with three songs. While I would’ve loved a new full album, I’m sure we’ll get it in due time. For now though I gave a listen to her new EP and she continues to prove she’s the real deal. Since this is such a short EP, I’m going to grade each song individually…
“Why Baby Why” – The first track on the EP is similar to the theme of “Better Than You Left Me.” The woman in the song is trying to move on from a relationship, but she can’t shake his memory and he just won’t let her move on. It’s a feeling many go through when getting out of a meaningful relationship. Guyton’s voice is great as always and for those few who thought she over sung on “Better Than You Left Me,” I think her voice sounds better controlled here, allowing it to come out as more powerful and projecting. The production is well-arranged and I like the sweeping piano that interludes throughout it. This is a pretty good love ballad that probably won’t be a single, but quite enjoyable for fans of Guyton. Grade: 9/10
“Somebody Else Will” – This song definitely has a more pop-y arrangement, but there’s a palpable country sound too. So this is pop country that is done well. “Somebody Else Will” is about a man not loving a woman enough and her friend telling her that if he doesn’t love her like he should then someone else will come along and do so. The song has a very uplifting feel that empowers women to stand up in relationships that aren’t working out. The beat of the song is quite catchy, as well as the lyrics. This song kind of reminds me of a song Carrie Underwood would do, which makes sense considering Guyton has a powerful voice like Underwood. While I don’t love this song as much as “Why Baby Why,” I enjoy it and could be the next single for Guyton. Grade: 8.5/10
“Pretty Little Mustang” – Just like “Somebody Else Will,” “Pretty Little Mustang” has a pop/rock country arrangement. The song is about empowering a woman to be who she is and not be afraid to put herself out there. The lyrics are a tad lightweight, but it’s very catchy and the theme has a good message. I was a little worried when I first started listening to this song that it would be overproduced, but it avoids this pitfall. The electric guitar interlude in the bridge is a nice touch and gives it a good climax point. If you gave this song to an average female vocalist, this song wouldn’t come across nearly as good. But Guyton’s top-notch vocals bring it to another level and is the mark of a talented artist. I think this song could also be a future single for Guyton and may be the best suited to get her significant airplay. Songs like this usually bore me, but as I said Guyton’s talent makes it a quality song. Grade: 8/10
“Better Than You Left Me” – For those who didn’t read my review on this song last fall, here’s a snippet of it: “Better Than You Left Me” starts off with the sound of a mandolin and guitar. The song is about a woman who’s ex left her and as time has passed she has grown into a better person since ending the relationship, much to the surprise of the ex. Even though she was heartbroken when the relationship ended, she realizes she is better off without him now. Despite attempts by the ex to win her heart back, she isn’t falling for his tactics. The songwriting is pretty good for this song, painting a picture of the situation in the listeners’ heads and showing the emotion of the woman in the situation. Guyton co-wrote the song with Nathan Chapman, Jennifer Hanson and Jenn Schott (props to Windmills Country for this information too). Grade: 9/10
This self-titled EP from Mickey Guyton, while short in quantity, is large in quality. In each song Guyton’s voice shines and is front and center. This is how it should be on all of her songs, as you simply don’t hide this kind of voice behind the instrumentation. The songwriting is pretty good, but I definitely think it could be even better for her full album. I would love to see Guyton tackle some really deep material, especially heartbreak ballads as her voice has the emotion to really connect with listeners. If I had to give advice to her label, I would tell them to look at Carrie Underwood’s trajectory because I believe Guyton is at the same level of talent as her and could be as big as her. In a time when radio is lacking female artists, they have one right in front of them in Guyton who should be a consistent presence on the radio. I definitely recommend checking out this EP. It’s one of my favorite releases from mainstream country in 2015 and I can’t wait to hear more new music from Mickey Guyton.