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Bri Bagwell ‘Banned From Santa Fe’ – CD Review

Bri Bagwell
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Bri Bagwell is behind the 8-ball already. She’s a female singer in Texas, and that poses a challenge in itself. In a music scene that is dominated by male singer/songwriters, Bri Bagwell looks to buck all trends with her CD ‘Banned From Santa Fe’.

Bri has a steady, easy to listen to voice that has just enough twang to let you know she’s a real country singer. The College Station native is not not a propped up, pretty face who can only sing either. As a matter of fact, Bagwell wrote every song on ‘Banned From Santa Fe’, and lends her talents on piano as well. While her music is clearly influenced in part by some of the superstar Nashville singers, her ability to write and play sets her apart from a lot of them. In a good way.

The CD opens with ‘Angel Days’ and ‘Midnight Hour’, a couple of cool, uptempo songs that fit very nicely in a Honkytonk with a full dance floor. The title track from ‘Banned From Santa Fe’ is a song about love lost,

“I never had a chance, you were the favorite in a bad romance. Just a gypsy girl, who danced into your small town world. Oh, they had a lot to say, I’m banned from Santa Fe.”

The ballad, ‘No Place Like Home’ has a sweet innocence about it, and gives listeners the first hint that Bri is a Texas girl. But it’s not a red dirt anthem. Like much of this CD, ‘No Place Like Home’ would fit in as well as any song on mainstream country radio.

‘Exit Signs’ is fun, and shows off a little attitude. ‘It’s My Turn’ features some slick fiddle and cool tempo changes.

The single, ‘Whiskey’ is a solid tune, and it’s proving itself on the Texas charts. It might not be the best song on the CD, but that’s more saying something good about the rest of ‘Banned From Santa Fe’.

It’s nice to see a live track at the end of the album. When performing live is such a huge part of a musician’s business as it is in Texas, I don’t understand why more artists don’t do this. It’s a fun, sing along song, so all the better.

Managing to work her way onto the stage at Josh Abbott’s ‘JAB Fest’, and opening for Red Dirt legends like Stoney LaRue (Oct. 4th at the Lucky Mule) are going to probe huge for Bagwell. From someone who wishes for variety in the Texas scene, she has the talent to hang with the best of them.

The Texas country music scene has a dynamic that’s almost the exact opposite of Nashville. Whereas Nashville has more than its share of female voices cover the radio airwaves and concert venues, Texas is lacking. Not that there aren’t plenty of talented female singers in Texas. It’s just considerably more difficult for them to reach a status that is representative of their talents.

Don’t Believe me? Check out the Texas Music Chart. The top 14 on the current chart are all male artists or groups. Bri Bagwell is #15 with her current single, ‘Whiskey’. Here’s the video for the song:

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