BWW CD Reviews: Rachel Potter's NOT SO BLACK AND WHITE Vivacious and Heartfelt
Despite growing up in Texas, I more or less hated country music for most of my life. If only more of it had sounded like Rachel Potter's first full length album NOT SO BLACK AND WHITE. If it had, I may have been a fan of the genre earlier. Mixing in sensibilities of pop and rock, Rachel Potter's brand of country is fresh and bold. Most refreshing of all is that her take on country is uniquely hers. There is no artifice or façade; there's just great music.
I have had the distinct pleasure to experience Rachel Potter sing songs from NOT SO BLACK AND WHITE live twice now. First hearing her songs at Hill Country Barbecue and Market in October 2014 and then again last night at Rockwood Music Hall, I'm consistently impressed by how relatable these rather personal songs are. In both concerts, Rachel Potter brought vivacious life, joy, and charm to the stage, making the music wondrously infectious and memorable. The album pristinely captures her passion for the music, and the catchy hooks become the kind of instantaneous earworm that brightens your day every time the tunes whimsically dance across your neurons.
Being an independent artist, on NOT SO BLACK AND WHITE Rachel Potter is able to sing about topics that the genre as whole finds taboo, especially for women to sing about. With a tangible disregard for danger and a darkly toned Appalachian background, she proudly owns her desires and urges on "Gonna Get Burned." Then the light-as-cotton sounding "Jesus and Jezebel," perhaps my favorite track on the album, doesn't mince any words. Rachel Potter, with brightness in her voice and heart, sings about the damaging hypocritical judgment of others that afflicts some people of the Christian faith. With knowledge of her own sins and her own personal relationship with her religion, she proudly sings "Me and Jesus, we're as thick as thieves./If you don't believe us, maybe you just don't believe!/They may say if I act this way/I'm going straight to hell./But, I think Jesus can love this jezebel."
These songs that conservative society may deem unsavory are paired with beautifully uplifting and heartwarming tunes as well. With her lovely voice, palpable charisma, and a lot of spunk, "Not So Black and White" and "Worth It" are anthems for anyone who has ever been made to feel as if they don't belong or as if they aren't enough. With these tracks, Rachel Potter reminds listeners that each and every person has something invaluable about themselves that sets them apart from everyone else. Likewise, the sweetly crooned "Butterfly" reminds us that even the smallest of actions can have profound effects on ourselves and others both immediately and further on down the road. These three songs encapsulate the interconnectedness of human existence and ask that we remember above all each person is worthy of acceptance, love, and respect.
Like any good country or pop album, she has songs that carry us through different aspects of love. Toe-tapping and dance inducing tunes like "Zero to Sixty" and "Radio" remind us of the splendors of young love and just having fun with the person who has our heart. Conversely, "Try" is delicate, gorgeous, and a gut-wrenching melancholic ballad of heartbreak. Yet, sometimes love is complicated, inescapable, and inexplicable, which is what the radio friendly "Boomerang" perfectly captures. The inspirational "Tail Lights" is about the love of oneself and being brave enough to give up your comfort to chase the dreams that give your life meaning. Considering my recent relocation from Houston, Texas to Greater NYC, this one in particular speaks volumes to me.
From Broadway to The X Factor and on to Nashville, Rachel Potter's vibrant voice has found success and won people over. Her talent and skill, her charming personality, and her desire to tear down walls and use her voice to empower women, the LGBTQ community, and others make her a delightful force to be reckoned with. NOT SO BLACK AND WHITE captures all of these elements of the artist, making it a country album that I will happily listen to on repeat for days, weeks, months, and even years to come.
Black is the New Pink Records digitally and physically released Rachel Potter's NOT SO BLACK AND WHITE on March 3, 2015. The album can be purchased from Rachel Potter's online store and iTunes. For more information about Rachel Potter and NOT SO BLACK AND WHITE, please visit http://www.rachelpottermusic.com. Also, be sure to catch the video for "Boomerang" below: