There is no holding back for Hailey Whitters on her debut, Black Sheep. She doubles down on the realness of life, and offers up perspectives country listeners may not be used to.
It all kicks off with the upbeat “Long Come to Jesus,” but the the surprises start with “City Girl.” It’s one of two Whitter didn’t have a hand in writing, and she sings about much she’d prefer living the city life to living in the country where there’s really not much to do. And while she may dreaming about the life she wants, the song its soaked in a country-blues sound. She just can’t escape her roots.
More of that honesty comes in through on the “Late Bloomer” where Whitters is the sole writer. It’s about going through that key developmental period later than everyone else. It’s something Taylor Swift could’ve written, but way less sugar coated.
The title song is upbeat with a little swagger that feels like it could double as an artistic statement. She has no problem writing and singing about subjects that may make some listeners blush.
“Low All Afternoon” is a song about that other woman in an affair. Like Sugarland’s “Stay” it brings humanity to the woman whom the man only sees as a one night stand.
Whitters sings about the loss of a sibling on “One More Hell.” She’s not afraid to admit that her dad “wants to kick God’s ass,” and is willing to live with the consequences if she could just take one more rule-breaking ride with her lost brother or sister.
“Get Around,” the album close, is probably the song that will turn the most heads. One reason is the subject matter: a first-person account of a woman with admitted “daddy issues” who’s completely aware of her reputation for being “easy.” The other reason is the song doesn’t seem to condemn or celebrate what she’s doing. It’s more like she’s owning it and saying it is what it is.
This record shows Hailey Whitters as fearless. She’s going to write and sing about whatever she feels like no matter what people say. And if this is what a Black Sheep sounds like, then please give us more.