When I turned my ears to Annie Bany’s “Barefoot & Young,” I knew her voice sounded similar to Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott, and someone we’ve been hearing a lot about lately, Taylor Swift. Barefoot & Young, Bany’s debut album, was independently released in August 2011.
Bany, an Oregon native, wrote and co-wrote every track on the album, as songwriting comes naturally for her.
Growing up in Wilsonville, Ore., she wrote stories and songs and soon developed a love for music after receiving her first guitar. Performing has always been her passion. Bany’s spark of imagination and creation has led to the debut of her first studio album.
According to Bany’s website, Barefoot & Young is “alternative country-pop.” Immediately as the opening track, “Sweet Escape,” started playing, my mind went to Taylor Swift. Much like Swift, it’s difficult to identify Bany as a country artist, or one-genre artist for that matter. Her songs are here and there, and you become unsure of what kind of songs you’re listening to. Is it country infused with pop? Maybe it’s alternative with some hints of country and pop? Or is it pop with sprinkles of country and rock? Nonetheless, Barefoot & Young contains a little bit of everything, which could be ear- pleasing or off-putting for listeners.
Barefoot & Young contains themes regarding Bany’s experiences with life, love, and hope for the future. Bany writes about the ability to overcome challenges in tracks, such as “Leap” and “Through the Storm,” and she writes about the understanding of love and heartbreak in “Here We Go Again” and “Too Far.” “I know this night won’t last forever, is this the last we’ll have together?” Bany hauntingly asks in “Let Me Down Easy.” Though the title track, “Barefoot & Young,” is underwhelming, the production strengthens the lighthearted mood of the song.
But could Bay be the next up-and-coming country-pop star? She has potential, but there’s a missing spark. The album contains lyrics that have more style over substance. With more heart, soul, honesty and personal experiences, Bany could go far in the music industry.
With the help of her producer and friend, Rob Shrock, Barefoot & Young has a variety of songs. While Bany does sound best with country, only time and experience will reward her growth with a great second album.
Tune into KSLC 90.3 FM to hear Annie Bany’s Barefoot & Young. You can also listen online at www.linfield.edu/kslcfm or stream the station on iTunes.
Assistant music director