Album Review: Sasha McVeigh – I Stand Alone

Sasha McVeigh - I Stand Alone (Album Cover)Sasha McVeigh is the most exciting act to have to been spawned from the British Country explosion. While we have a real soft spot for those adorable twin sisters Ward Thomas, we question the public outpouring of support for the folk duo The Shires, whose use of the same harmony throughout their debut album is just a little too twee for our tastes. So what is it about the Herefordshire born songstress that has caught our ear’s attention we hear you ask? Well, sit back and pay attention, for we are about to tell you why Sasha’s debut album is currently embarking on a very tight battle for best Country album of the year with Jess and the Bandits’ feisty debut Here We Go Again.

Sasha McVeigh is unlike any of her counterparts. At a push we would say she is the British Kacey Musgraves. But even that comparison does not do her justice. Like the aforementioned Jess and the Bandits, Sasha is bringing something fresh and exciting to the table. Instead of simply playing the copycat game, her debut album is buzzing with original thought and unique identity.

As a true Disney fan, the album could not get off to a more apt opening than with well-established fan favourite Mr Brown Eyes, which tells a rather dreamy, but factual tale of a fateful meeting. Having got her Disney dreaming out of the way, reality hits home on the charged sensitivity of Stupid Girl, which is even more beautiful in its acoustic working for the bonus tracks. Bouncy single Someone To Break My Heart may not be as gritty as the rest of the album, but it sure makes for pretty radio fodder. Title track I Stand Alone offers the album’s first award worthy single. Written when Sasha was just 14, it is the honest and un-cheesy take on being a bully’s victim that sees Sasha steal her listener’s heart. With every activity on her A.J. Masters bucket list track You Only Live Once to be added to your own, she allows the vixen within to break out on the sexy Hot Mess. Surely a contender for a future single. Returning to the innocence of Someone To Break My Heart, the blissful Time Of My Life is a touching sing along. It is with Crooked Road that she once again bares her soul and soars in the direction of award glory, before ramping it all up another notch with the flawless one-night stand anthem No Strings Attached Romance. Having let her hair down, she dreams of real love in the wistful Two Ships to close off the collection.

Aptly titled I Stand Alone, Sasha does exactly that. An honest but playful lyricist, I Stand Alone is an album brimming with intelligent cultural references and thought-provoking personal exploration. A twisting journey from victim making a stand through to determined rising star willing to make the most of the short time she has on this earth. Which is marked rather poignantly by the inclusion of the work tape of the irrepressible You Only Live Once as a touching tribute to her late, great collaborator A.J. Masters.

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