Country Jukebox Jury EPs: Clare Dunn and Georgia Webster

Clare Dunn – In This Kind of Light

Clare Dunn is publicising her EP by talking about the physical assault she suffered at the hands of a driver who had picked her up via the Lyft platform on June 26. He has since been arrested and I wonder if people who read the story will check out the EP. She is best known for her minor radio hit Tuxedo, a poppy song in the Maren Morris vein, which she released when signed to MCA Nashville. She is now signed to an indie, Big Yellow Dog, who also work with Tenille Townes.

The pre-released tunes, which she produced, are Holding Out for a Cowboy and How It Comes Off. The former sees Clare lament city life in her quest for a man, seeking a man who ‘wears a Stetson or a Resistol’ and blue jeans. The arrangement harks back to the classic songwriting of Leon Russell and Carole King and it’s a winning formula. How It Comes Off puts ‘your brother’s friend Janet’ in Clare’s place on a trip that sounds too detailed to be made up: ‘I know you don’t mean to break my heart but that’s how it comes off/ I know sometimes I tend to overthink’. I expect many listeners will wonder what one’s partner gets up to when he (or she) goes away without them. The conflict between fidelity and doubt makes this a really great song that Chris Stapleton could pull off.

Fool Moon (good title) seems to be the result of How It Comes Off, ‘two fools who can’t seem to say goodbye’. Good Love Bad has Clare dispensing truths to a male friend to ‘take it slow, like an old soul song’, implying that she is free. It’s seductive and alluring thanks to both vocal and production.

Lonely Alone, where growling guitars make it sound like a dive bar, has the line ‘You’re a hot rod I can tell/ But You drive that fast lane well’, as Clare compliments a potential new start. She might decide to ‘kick it with you…but I ain’t lonely cos I’m just alone’. Keep listening until the outro, which made me chuckle.

This fabulous project is united in tone and narrative. I hope people hear it and not just because there’s sympathy for her after the assault.

Georgia Webster – First Goodbye

Georgia Webster will support Ingrid Andress on her forthcoming tour including a few UK dates in January, which is smart because Ingrid is a pop performer whose emotional songs Lady Like and More Hearts Than Mine have won over plenty of fans here. Paul DiGiovanni is on production which means there will be a poppy sound to these five tracks, all aimed at the 16-24 demographic.

Tell Your Mom (‘to stop calling me’) propelled her out of her small town in Massachusetts and into people’s lives through the medium of TikTok. Choosing Nashville over LA and New York means that country radio may well give her a push as they are doing with Priscilla Block, whose boring song is currently in the top 30 there.

Georgia’s voice is very poppy, closer to Halsey than Carrie, as shown on Push & Pull, where Paul’s production is teen-friendly. When TikTok gives you so much visibility and you want to perform your songs to a big audience, it’s foolish just to call Georgia a success because of the platform. Shawn Mendes is a great songwriter who got his start on Vine, while Nick Jonas used the Disney Channel to launch a superlative career. It’s up to Georgia’s label to market her correctly, get her name recognised by parents as well as kids and make tracks that go beyond teen ballad (First Goodbye), uke-and-autotune snark (UGLY) and reminiscin’ (Box of Memories). Admittedly, the image of a ‘picture torn in two’ that Georgia can’t throw away is excellent and one which will get plenty of recognition.

Good luck to her and I hope she makes some fans over here in 2022.

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