Equity Records has found great success with Little Big Town and marginal success with Carolina Rain and label co-owner Clint Black. But they’ve failed to find much of any success with any of their other artists. They’ve released multiple singles on former ‘big’ acts like Carolyn Dawn Johnson and Mark Wills, yet when it came time to release a new album from their stable of artists, the label chose to release Laura Bryna’s “Trying To Be Me.”
What were they thinking?
“Life Is Good” starts off the record and despite being produced by a well-known producer, the song just sounds like it’s a demo that was shipped to get a label deal. Bryna’s vocals get processed up the wazoo while the whole affair just sounds tinny, particularly the fiddles and mandolins. Talk about bad first impressions. “Maybe She Fell” cribs the melody of Sons of the Desert’s “Whatever Comes First” to back a lyric that deals with domestic abuse. The song is just a Martina B-side. “Make A Wish” not only has the same name as a previously released single by Cancer survivor Kevin Sharp but it also cribs the same theme. Where Sharp came off as sincere, Bryna’s song comes off as overwrought and unnecessary. I have no doubt that Laura’s inspiration was in the right place, but the song could’ve been much better. “Room 228” is a 3 minute bag of story-song cliche’s while a winning melody cannot save “According To The Radio” due to Bryna’s husky, Heidi Neufield-lite vocals (there’s no rasp to be found in this Maryland native’s voice). The lyrics once again rival ‘grrl-pwr’ of Martina McBride. Ugh.
And therein lies the problem with “Trying To Be Me.” Laura really isn’t trying to be herself. Aside from looking pretty on the album cover (and I’d argue that one too), Laura really doesn’t do anything remotely noteworthy. She’s an average singer with average to below average songs. I don’t see where this album has any true market or future. It is a candidate for the worst release of 2008.