There’s something special about older country songs. There’s a level of raw emotion and vivid storytelling that other genres don’t capture in the same way. Alternative country artist Bria re-interprets the storytelling in classic country songs with a modern illustrative take in her newest release Cuntry Covers Vol. 2.
The EP follows the release of volume one of the Cuntry Covers from September 2021, which put her on the map with covers like “Buffalo Ballet” and “Fruits Of My Labor.” The first volume of this cover series defines Bria’s style and experimentation which she elevated in her latest release.
The record features six tracks with eccentric pop-inspired twists on familiar country songs like “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?” originally by Paula Cole and “I Dream a Highway” by Gillian Welch. Bria swaps out a traditional drum kit and cowbells throughout the EP for synths but keeps some traditional country elements. Bria’s modern and pop-influenced take on these popular country tracks lets anyone enjoy these songs, from first-time country music listeners to lifelong fans.
Opening with a captivating start with the track “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?” Bria takes us to an alternative country universe that’s ambient but still filled with classic country tones. Bria’s melodic backing vocals and entrapping horns make this track four-dimensional.
“When You Know Why You’re Happy” follows a similar direction as the opening track– soft and captivating. Bria’s deep and resonating vocals stand out the most in this song. A horn arrangement follows behind her vocals that fade us out, making this song the perfect soundtrack for driving through the desert with your windows down.
Halfway through the EP, we’re met with the electric “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind).” Bria opens the song with an intense start with synths and a ringing cowbell, showing us a more vibrant side of her music. This track combines sounds from Bria’s wide range of influences that all mesh together perfectly to turn this nostalgic country song into a dancey pop hit.
Bria slows down and takes a more atmospheric direction with the next track, “By The Time I Get To Phoneix.” Like her other songs, we can hear the intensity of emotion in her vocals alone, which stand out in front of the synths and simple percussion.
The EP ends on the dreamy and moody “I Dream A Highway” cover. Bria brings this song back with a gut-wrenching rendition of its original counterpart by Gillian Welch. Bria focuses on drawing out the heartbreak and passion behind the lyrics with minimalistic instrumentals that match the density of her voice. The six-and-a-half-minute ballad is the perfect finale to the EP, fading out and leaving us wanting to restart the entire tracklist.
In Cuntry Covers Vol. 2, Bria breaks the wall of traditional country songs with her alternative take on traditional country music. Bria shows us her contemporary perspective on these renditions of country tracks we grew up listening to without leaving behind their foundation. If you’re looking for a new take on country music that doesn’t lose authenticity, this is an EP for you.
You can preorder the EP here.