Lee Brice — “A Woman Like You”
Lee Brice is well aware that sometimes the little things eventually add up to something bigger. When the country music newcomer released his single “Love Like Crazy” last year, it took 46 weeks to reach the top ten. More than two months later it was still on the board, lasting long enough to steal the record for longest-charting single from Eddy Arnold and his 1948 song “Bouquet of Roses.”
Unfortunately, the tune, a likable version of the formulaic three-verse twist on a chorus, was one of the few bright spots on his debut album of the same name. Unlike “Love Like Crazy,” that collection of songs released by Asylum-Curb Records tried too hard in too many ways, producing some of the most cringe-worthy music of the year.
A year later, Brice is back with the first single off his upcoming sophomore album, banking on a similar slow-and-steady strategy with a much different sound. “A Woman Like You” sticks close to the aw-shucks persona developed with his first hit, striking many of the same feel-good notes. But instead of belting out life lessons learned with help from Microsoft, this go-round is stripped down and delivered in a straightforward, everyman voice (most recently perfected by fellow Curb artist Rodney Atkins) and backed with an acoustic arrangement.
Following the simple conversation between husband and wife¸ it’s these quiet moments that do most of the talking. Uncontrived confessions such as “I’d have a dirt bike in the shed/And not one throw pillow on the bed/I’d keep my cash in a coffee can” are bolstered by Brice’s development as a performer, a positive sign for the new album. His nervous inflections on the introductory “I dunno” – a humorous moment where he seems to wonder if this may be more of a trap than pillow talk – morph into confident, quiet falsettos in the song’s bridge, all tied together with husky, hoarse vocals.
“A Woman Like You” does well not to do too much, never trying too hard to rhyme or rock. At times a bit plodding, the song’s cheese-factor is barely saved by the cool edge Brice maintains. But it’s that self-conscious vulnerability that pays off here on “A Woman Like You,” however slowly it – or Brice’s career – develops.
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