Laci Kaye Booth first rose to prominence when she competed in Season 17 of ‘American Idol’ in 2019. Progressing to the later stages of the show, Booth finished in the Top 5 and her performance of ‘Mercy’ with Brett Young was one of the highlights of the season. Two years on, Booth is now signed to Big Machine (the same label as Young) and last month she put out her self-titled debut collection featuring 8 songs.
What’s clear from listening to this set of songs if that Booth is throwing lots of different things at the wall in a bid to see what sticks. For the most part, she’s impressive and opener ‘Used To You’ is one of the strongest moments on the release. Pairing her gorgeously smoky voice with gentle melodies and acoustic guitar, it gives a real indication of what Booth can do as an artist. It sits nicely between traditional Country and pop, ensuring that she appeals to fans of both genres. Second track ‘On The Fence’ dials up the Country influence a little more sounding a little like Kelsea Ballerini when she’s at her best.
Lady A’s Charles Kelley appears on ‘Broken Heart Still Beats’, and it’s a shame it’s not Young so the two could build on their ‘American Idol’ duet. The song is a potential future radio single and it does play to the mid-tempo strength of Lady A. ‘If He Would’ve Stayed’ is a standout moment, dialling back the production and letting Booth’s voice take the spotlight. It’s a vulnerable and emotional moment that plays to her strengths as a vocalist.
There are a couple of missteps on the release. The throwaway ‘Treasure’ has no place among the tracks here. Oddly throwing it back to the late 90s/early 00s Latin-pop craze, the song is a throwaway moment that I just don’t understand. For me, it doesn’t suit her voice and it’s not as mature as the other songs on the collection. ‘Shuffle’ is the other moment that isn’t so strong, as Booth hits the current Country trope of listing off the titles of popular Country songs. It’s been done to death and honestly she’s better than this material.
The collection closes strongly with the dreamy ‘Visions’ and the beautiful ‘Heart of Texas’. Like the strongest tracks on the record, these two keep things simple and simple is what works best for Booth. She doesn’t need lots of production or pop twists, she’s an artist whose voice is the main event and when that gets chance to shine, Booth sounds amazing.
Booth’s debut set is a mixed bag but there’s enough on here for fans to sink their teeth into. Hopefully, Booth will further refine her sound from this point and explore the more traditional Country elements that are on display on several tracks. I just hope she stays far away from the throwaway tracks and clichés that hamper the weakest moments. Booth has a phenomenal voice and she’s a serious talent, she just needs the material to properly showcase that.
Track list: 1. Used To You 2. On The Fence 3. Treasure 4. Broken Heart Still Beats (feat. Charles Kelley) 5. Shuffle 6. If He Would’ve Stayed 7. Visions 8. Heart of Texas Record label: Big Machine Release date: 6th August 2021 Buy ‘Laci Kaye Booth’ now