How refreshing to come across a young artist pursuing country music ideals without veering down the route of ‘quick fix’ pop-rock models. Hannah Rose Platt uses the combined beauty of her lyrical wisdom and wondrous vocals to populate a blank canvas of a debut record in remarkable and mature portions. Adopting a folk-tinged influence and finespun musical arrangements helps steer PORTRAITS, Hannah’s debut full length release, into the territory of lauded association and anointed acclaim. All twelve tracks etch a tantalising appeal across your mind, showcasing Hannah’s potential to develop into an influential songwriter, both in evidence on solo contributions and the nous to learn from the best.
Being hailed by Sid Griffin as a ‘young, north of England Emmylou Harris’ is an eye opening comment to introduce a female artist but such hyperbole is not so out of place. On a record simply but beautifully crafted, Hannah explores some deep seated concepts using guile, awareness and a flair for using the song writing medium to invoke some serious character studies. The bravest of Hannah’s eight solo and two collaborative writing efforts is the marvellous ‘1954’, taking on the subject of dementia with breath taking maturity. Further character based compositions reveal the ultimate daydreaming fantasy of ‘Dancer’ and emotional inter-family communication from behind prison walls in ‘Birthday Card’.
Every aspiring song writer will dig deep into the lavish well of relationships to form their subjects and Hannah delivers this wonderfully in a trio of tracks looking at the topics of regret, aftermath and reconciliation. ‘Half Way Home’ takes on the notion of turning back time to alter the future, while ‘Crumbs’ sieves through the remnants of a failed association. ‘The Doll and the Soldier’ is a metaphorical take on rekindling old times and is a co-write with Sophie Daniels. Likewise the track ‘(We’ll Say Goodbye) Tomorrow’ sees Hannah share penning duties with her co-producer Michael Bonagura to explore the decision to delay the inevitable for just one more night.
Hannah had the good fortune to take herself off to Nashville from her Liverpool base and enjoy its rich recording resources to make PORTRAITS. She also shows an intuitive inkling in what constitutes a good song when selecting the two borrowed tunes for the record. Vocally Hannah totally wipes the floor with Luke Bryan on her version of ‘You Don’t Know Jack’ bringing visions of a young Lee Ann Womack imposing raw emotion and countrified talent to the ubiquitous drinking song. Also honing in on a song co-written by Shane McAnally, one of the industry’s best, will do her song writing development no harm. Michael Bonagura’s ‘Little Screws’ is a delightful song to launch the dulcet tones of Hannah at the commencement of the album revealing a powerfully messaged piece, focussing on mundane reflection before exploding with the mortal trinity of ‘a needle, a gun and a rich man’s war’.
Hannah’s sweet and comforting vocals stretch the length of the record and are allowed to blossom courtesy of the subtle music arrangements infiltrating a multitude of string accompaniments, most notably fiddle and cello. As intimated, this record possesses all the hallmarks of that dream-laden aspiring singer-songwriter migrating to Nashville knowing that her agenda-free offerings will likely to gravitate more to the left field Americana world than the corporate radio obsessed moguls of Music Row. This is a massive complement to Hannah as her passion and drive to make glorious aromatic music, relieved of chasing artificial melodies, lends itself to an album of great substance.
Without any hesitation, endorsement of this near faultless debut work is forthcoming and PORTRAITS is as pure and natural an album you could wish to listen to. Hannah Rose Platt is a welcome addition to the UK music scene and proud accomplice to a record sealed to add value to your precious listening experience.