Joel Crouse's debut album a comprehensive country listen

(Photo Courtesy of Universal Music) (Photo Courtesy of Universal Music)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Country music artist Joel Crouse is on the rise with the release of his debut album, “Even The River Runs.”

Crouse, who made his musical debut in churches at 13, has spent the last few years touring with major artists like Taylor Swift, The Band Perry and Toby Keith.

“It’s pretty cool,” Crouse said. "(I enjoyed the opportunity to) go out on the road with different artists and different acts.”

Crouse penned “Even The River Runs” between the ages of 17 and 20 and was inspired by experiences he had gone through.

“Even The River Runs” is a collection of country pop hits and ballads, including moments of emotional complexity with lighter themes, making the album a comprehensive listen.

“This record is different,” Crouse said of the album's diverse musical styling. “The whole record is a personal experience.”

The album’s most popular song and Crouse’s first single, “If You Want Some,” is a light-hearted party anthem with a John Mayer-like sound and country flare.

Another “Even The River Runs” standout, “Why God Made Love Songs,” is a solid second single for Crouse, marrying pop sound with authentic country vocals and style. The upbeat track is a song that can attract listeners beyond the scope of traditional country music fans.

“Don’t Tell Me,” a bluesy country throwback reminiscent of country greats like Alan Jackson and Garth Brooks, demonstrates Crouse’s ability to utilize different styles while remaining authentic.

Crouse said his musical inspirations include Keith Urban, the Zac Brown Band and Johnny Cash. The album reflects these influences but broadens the scope of these styles to include mainstream listeners alike, he said.

While “Juliet”-themed songs are arguably becoming a bit clichéd and over played, Crouse’s take on the popular female inspiration is refreshing and interesting. “Oh Juliet” entertains an ending relationship in which the lyrics suggest that “I can’t finish what you want to start,” giving the song a new take on the popular subject.

“Even The River Runs,” the title track of the album, is a record highlight with a perfect blend of new and old country, perfect for the airwaves and long drives (or rides on the light rail.) The track showcases Crouse’s immense vocal range and style.

“I Never Said I Was In Love” is a stripped-down emotionally charged ballad about unrequited feelings. Backed by an orchestra and heavy piano melody, Crouse’s musical abilities shine well beyond his 22 years.

“Looking back… seven years ago, I was playing dive bars in Massachusetts,” Crouse said. "It’s pretty insane.”

Crouse is on tour with various artists, making a stop in Arizona on Dec. 11 at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar And Grill in Mesa.

 

Reach the reporter at Samantha.Shotzbarger@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @SShotzbarger

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