Storyteller is possibly the most well rounded album Carrie Underwood has put out, and it’s a great way to start her second decade in country music.
The first thing noticed is her voice. It’s always been powerful, but there’s also a sense of renewal felt as well, especially on the opener “Renegade Runaway.” It’s almost as if that little break she took did a lot of good. There’s a renewed confidence in a lot of her songs like “Dirty Laundry” and “Church Bells” (the latter has an early kick drum beat so loud it made this reporter jump while driving). There’s a certain swagger to the more upbeat songs that says she’s ready for more.
With those upbeat songs are new sounds, especially on “Choctaw County Affair” where there’s a little more rawness than we’re used to hearing from her. The mix of soulful background singers, southern-fried guitar, and harmonica give it a nice down home feel with a little bit of dirt added in.
Then there’s the more sentimental songs, which she never fails to deliver on. Most notable are “Heartbeat” with background vocals by Sam Hunt, and “Like I’ll Never Love You Again,” which is very calm and simple.
The most notable are the most personal. “The Girl You Think I Am” is a song where she thanks her dad for the love and support over the years, and she ends the album a song for her two special guys in her life called, “What I Never Knew I Always Wanted.” She never she wanted them until they came into her life.
Carrie Underwood’s new chapter is off to a stellar start, and there’s no doubt that she’s turned into one of country music’s premiere storytellers.