Under normal circumstances last weekend would have catapulted Sophie Hanson from Sweden into the view of UK Country fans as she would have been playing at Buckle & Boots where I think it is safe to say she would have made an immediate impact, if only from watching her brief Lockdown spot on the virtual B&B festival and the arrival of her new single "Hit Rock Bottom".
The track kicks off with a definite Nashville vibe, it lasts for about ten seconds and possibly allows you to set up preconceptions of what the track is going to sound like, acoustic and electric guitars, a booming drumbeat and a keyboard all set you up for a pretty standard Country song, then Sophie steps in. With just a grungy guitar and drum beat for backing she takes centre stage with a rocking bluesy vocal that will invite comparisons inevitably with the likes of Larkin Poe. Sophie's rock style delivery takes this track to a completely different level as she opens with "I been trying to keep my head straight, walking over glowin' coal".
It's something of an ultimatum lyric with Sophie's persona having had to put up with an awful lot and with the use of some water based imagery - the final "take it or leave it" option is offered with some force..
I'm a slave to your love I’ve been dragged in the gravel for you I’ve been treading water Now I’m sick of you letting me float It’s time that you pick up the oars and start to row
With a chorus that has a certain European pop melody to it this is just the sort of song to kick start your summer, just listen to Sophie as she hits the notes on that second chorus - hopefully she'll be able to hit these shores someday soon.
Inevitably this single may well tweak your interest for more Sophie and #TEAMw21 would not hesitate in sending you off in the direction of her 2018 single "Die at 29" which will show you another side to Sophie. In all honesty if you are not immediately grabbed by the title then the immediate sound of a heartbeat and the opening line of "We used to talk to ourselves, me myself and I" delivered in a dream sultry voice must surely pull you in. This is almost as attention grabbing in its own way, with its strong lyrical line and it's intriguing chorus that ends by sending us off into something of a euro anthem. The song is actually a rally against the feeling of seeing no way forward and the title if it came with brackets would be "(I Will Never) Die at 29" and comes with the reassuring "I know I'll be fine"
Sitting somewhere between the two, and played at Virtual B&B is "So Long", coincidentally written at the same time as "Hit Rock Bottom", you get the rockier style delivery matched with a sheer pop chorus that is almost impossible to escape from as she roars "I'm on my own , I'm the Queen of my throne".
It's punchy, poppy and well worth investigating.
If these three slices of Sophie do nothing else then they will surely serve to introduce you to a new name on the Country scene and prepare you for when she does get to play Buckle & Boots for real!