As you might expect, [artist id="3803308"]Crystal Bowersox[/artist] is doing things her own way on her upcoming debut album, Farmer's Daughter. The 12-track disc from the season-nine "American Idol" second-place finisher, due out December 14, is a mix of country grit and blues growl. And unlike previous "Idol" runner-up debuts (or winner debuts for that matter), most of the songs were written by Bowersox, with two pre-dating her time on "Idol."
The disc opens with the pedal-steel rocking, high-stepping country jam "Ridin' With the Radio," penned by Bowersox; her new husband, Brian Walker, provides background vocals. The party tune about hitting the road and belting out tunes however you like is followed by a cover of the legendary Buffalo Springfield anti-war anthem "For What It's Worth," which is given an update with a drum machine-like rhythm, a countrified dobro solo and Bowersox's patented sassy blues mama growl.
In a break with the typical "American Idol" debut LP template, the disc features a few tunes Bowersox wrote during her pre-"Idol" days. While season-nine winner Lee DeWyze released two indie albums before his just-released debut, Live It Up, dropped, he didn't include any of those tunes on his major-label bow, on which he co-wrote all 11 songs with veteran songwriters.
The pre-"AI" tracks on Bowersox's album include the rousing hometown radio hit homage "Holy Toledo" and the emotional title track. The latter, reminiscent of the early work of Melissa Etheridge, tells the tale of a rough-and-tumble upbringing.
"All I ever needed was you to be here for me," she sings. "This time is the last time you're going to see us around/ This was the last chance to prove you wouldn't let me down/ So go on, get gone and get away from here," she adds, her voice rising with feeling as she bids farewell to an abusive parent whose trust has been lost.
In addition to playing guitar on all of the album's tracks, Bowersox shares a few writing credits on songs such as the super poppy "Lonely Won't Come Around," which she penned with Ryan Harris and Alexandra Tamposi, and the touching country duet "Mason," written with husband Walker. The first single, "Hold On," is the only original she doesn't have a writing credit on. The big-sounding pop song about the pressures of navigating fame without your love by your side was penned by former "Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi and Nickelback's Chad Kroeger.
The other tunes on the disc include the blues shuffle "On the Run," the barroom rocker "Kiss Ya," the ballads "Speak Now" and "Mine All Mine" and hushed album closer "Arlene," which features a touch of home, courtesy of Bowersox's old bandmate and pal Frankie May, who plays bass on the track.
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