H.C. McEntire wisely stays away from mixing hip-hop with country on her solo debut LIONHEART.Merge Records, 2018
6.4 / 10
Country music just ain’t country music anymore. And this is coming from a guy that never was a country guy even though I’m from the south. Modern day country is trying to incorporate hip-hop and modern pop with excruciating results. It’s almost a little jarring to hear an ‘actual’ country album, but that’s just what H.C. McEntire‘s LIONHEART is. For McEntire to go country is no real surprise. She’s shown a knack for it as the frontwoman for Mount Moriah. With LIONHEART, she wants to take country music back from “the hetero-normative, homogenous schtick of tailgates and six-packs and men chasing women.”
Well, she certainly separates herself from THAT kind of country. But she also separates herself from probably country’s biggest audience by striving for a Dolly and Loretta style. Still, I doubt McEntire really cares as she’s making the music she wants to make. And she brings along some friends to do it: Kathleen Hanna, Angel Olsen, Amy Ray, Tift Merritt, William Tyler, Mary Lattimore, and Phil Cook. A strong cast for sure. No surprise that she pulls off a classic country album, one that mixes in gospel, somber twang, and an occasional heart-thumper.