Annie Bosko - Annie Bosko
Stone Country Records
A farmer’s daughter born-and-raised in California, Annie Bosko is a country traditionalist at heart, but there is much more to her career story. The twenty-year-long road to releasing this superb 5-track set, found her not only trying to nail the exact sonics she wanted, but also battling with record label wishy-washiness and relocating multiple times—to Nashville to California, to Nashville, to California and then finally back, yet again, to Nashville. Annie has an enviable résumé for an artist still to make a major breakthrough. She has recorded duets with Vince Gill, Dwight Yoakam and Raul Malo, toured world-wide and sung back-up vocals for Adele, Darius Rucker, Celine Dion, Kenny G, Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, Josh Turner and many others. As a songwriter she’s penned songs recorded by Willie Nelson, Jessica Simpson, Rita Wilson and Marie Osmond and sang demos for some of the biggest radio hits of recent years. Everything about this new set feels more confident, self-assured and assertive than even her impressive earlier releases. Annie is not afraid of being bold. She is sweet but fiery, mature but outspoken and now she is beginning to make waves within the industry.
Country music’s lyrical lanes have long been paved by clever turns of phrase and brilliant puns, lived-in details, and grounded narratives. Co-writing with such Music Row scribes as Jeffrey Steele, Derek George and Bridgette Tatum, Annie shows that she’s mastered this difficult songcraft. All the songs radiate her sunny, sexy, tough woman vibe, giving the entire project a feel-good sound. Backed up by a solid crew of Nashville mainstays like Dan Dugmore, Ilya Toshinsky, Rob McNelley, Jenee Fleenor, alongside co-producers Derek George and Mickey Jack Cones, both of whom add additional instrumentation and background vocals, to create a fully realised collection of traditional country ballads, two-steps, shuffles, and rockin’ toe-tappers.
Set to a Shania-inspired choogle, Boots On, is driven by a country fiddle sound with elements of rock guitar, percussion, and a classic boot-scootin’ boogie. While it’s hardly pop country, it dives into a strong woman anthem with a siren call reminding me of past favourites like Gretchen Wilson, Heather Myles and Danni Leigh. Maintaining the same upbeat stance, Honky Tonk Highway, again features vibrant fiddle and pedal steel guitar as she boldly leaves her man behind burning rubber ‘bar singin, guitar slingin country queenin down the road,’and living life on her own terms. The equally upbeat Sometimes I Forget, disguises a break-up behind an optimistic approach as she fervently becomes a lady taking back her life, despite the many obstacles she encounters just trying to get on with living, on this jubilant toe-tapper.
She becomes a wife on the sensual Neon Baby, a smooth honky-tonker as she tempts her man to ‘Two step me through the kitchen to the bedroom with nothin’ on’ as steel guitar strains uncoil slowly with Annie singing along to a silky barroom groove that will have listeners swaying along to this irresistible tune. This all-too-short five-piece set is the result of a lengthy journey toward honesty, and toward her uncompromising vision for what she wanted to release into the universe. And the wait has been well worth it. Annie Bosko’s unique voice and classic country production are certainly helping to keep the current neotraditional country movement alive.