Album Review: Brandy Clark - “Big Day In A Small Town”

ACM, CMA and Grammy-nominated artist returns with proper major label debut via Slate Creek/Warner Bros. Records.

One of the top songwriters in Nashville, Brandy Clark’s 12 Stories album was a revelation when it was released in 2013 and eventually earned Brandy a big Best New Artist nomination at the 2015 Grammy Awards telecast. For her follow-up  (which is also her official major label debut), Brandy has teamed up with Jay Joyce to create an album which weaves a cohesive thread from song to song.

Big Day In A Small Town off with “Soap Opera” and the tune finds Brandy Clark setting the thread about life in a small town and the characters from within it. She plays the part of various characters in the town, from the “Girl Next Door” who is a bit bawdy and opinionated to the heartbroken girl of “You Can Come Over” to the realities of living paycheck to paycheck in “Broke.” “Homecoming Queen” has a story that’s all too true about peaking at school and the reality that life won’t stay the same it was when you were 17.

Each song has a unique story but the characters Brandy plays are just as important. “Three Kids No Husband” has the spark of a heartbreaking Patty Griffin gem while “Daughter” has the kind of pointed humor that we’ve come to know from Brandy Clark. Traditional country storytelling comes to the forefront of “Drinkin’ Smokin’ Cheatin’” and closer “Since You’ve Gone To Heaven.” Throughout Big Day In A Small Town Brandy showcases why comparisons to Trisha Yearwood as a vocalist are apt. There’s shades of Patty Loveless and even Loretta Lynn as well.

Second albums are often the hardest album for an artist to make. While things could’ve gone terribly wrong for Brandy Clark on Big Day In A Small Town, the singer has evolved her sound while not removing anything that made her a buzz worthy artist. With an over-arching theme that ties each track to together, Big Day In A Small Town is well on its way to being one of 2016’s best albums, if not the best release of the year.