Pierce Avenue bring back the (traditional) sunshine on new EP

Pierce Avenue, EP Cover Art

Pierce Avenue isn't your typical mainstream duo: they're far more Patty Loveless and Merle Haggard than Nelly or Drake. Their understanding of country music's roots is heartily felt on their new self-titled EP, a meager five track project that zigs and zags between captivating tradition and roots-driven melodies and southern honky-tonk. Comprised of Tony and Jaime Pierce, the husband-wife pairing is enrapturing—piecing together authentic country heartbreak and real life lessons into a complete journey.

"I Couldn't Leave You If I Tried" is a particularly interesting track, in throwback style to Loveless' Honky Tonk Angel. Jaime leading the song was a wise choice; even her delicately-chosen phrasing is reminiscent of the neo-traditional legend. It is the grit in Jaime's voice that truly sells the track, perhaps one of the finest songs to ever be recorded in 2014. There's a refreshing huskiness that doesn't cloud her interpretation. Instead, it only sharpens the pain in her voice.

"Shut Up And Love Me," underpinned with vibrant electric guitar licks, is a bit more pop polished, but isn't overpowering. The ultimate result commands your attention, as the duo tries to find the words to express their regret. Tony, especially, shines here with a soaring confidence, rivaling the charm of such male A-listers as Dierks Bentley and Luke Bryan. His more slicked-back tone counterbalances Jaime's more rough-edged quality, truly allowing the song to reach dizzying heights. "It Just Takes A Kiss" follows and possesses similiar story structure and overall texture, but is certainly, in now way, a throwaway track. It's innocense and romantic idealism makes it a standout gem.

"I Won't," a lone, western-laced ballad, is a sorrowful piece. It's a bitter dark, more heartbroken than the other tracks. Tony and Jaime play off each other well, as they dig into their well of pain to offer up a remarkable recording. And closing out the project is the groovy, soul-powered, high-octane "Take It To The House." There's a sensual ebb and flow of the rhythm, drapped with equally tantalizing lyrics—bolstered by Jaime and Tony's siren-like presentation. What a way to wrap up the duo's first major project: Fast-paced, blistering, wholesome.

Must-Listen Tracks: "I Couldn't Leave You If I Tried," "Take It To The House"

Grade: 4.5/5 

You can grab a copy of the new EP on iTunes now!

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