Alex is a guy from Georgia who is beloved in town. He launched his EP with a gig at the Bluebird Café with his good friends Kassi Ashton and Tenille Townes, as well as collaborator Brad Tursi whose band Old Dominion work with Shane McAnally. Shane runs Monument records, to which Alex is signed. Labelmates include Teddy Robb, Caitlyn Smith and Walker Hayes.
The EP includes tracks which have been dripfed over recent months. John Osborne plays a solo on Jealous Love, on which Alex is ‘holding you closer than a high school grudge’; Vince Gill guests on the gorgeous Never Seen The World, which sounds like a Charlie Worsham song with its tender vocal and protagonist whose eyes are opened by the one he loves; and Brad Paisley does his thing on the wedding waltz Last One To Leave. I’ve often said everything sounds better when sung by Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, and I would add that everything sounds bolo with a Brad Paisley solo.
The smooth Other End of the Phone – on which Alex wants to pop over and hang with his lady – spent two years on the shelf as Alex signed a record deal on the strength of the song and waited (and waited) for it to get out into the world. I love it a lot, especially Brad’s guitar solo and the groove that is very Old Dominion-y.
Heart Shut, written with and with vocals from Tenille, outlines how she ‘looks happy now’ she’s with a new guy, even as she drinks the same drink she did when Alex was with her. Yet it is ‘hard to keep my heart shut’ so he can’t go over and say hello. Tenille, on her part, looks over and feels exactly the same. What a smart idea for a duet and it’s sung very tenderly.
As for Runs in the Family, Alex and Kassi sing in unison about how family will ‘defend your blood even if they ain’t right’. The payoff is that love brings more than just one person into your life, so this is a song for loved ones similar to More Hearts Than Mine by Ingrid Andress.
Remember the name: Alex Hall.