Country group Chapel Hart has been singing together since they were toddlers and they haven’t stopped. The trio made up of Danica, her sister Devynn, and their cousin Trea, have been blazing their way in country music since coming into the scene a few years ago. Earlier this year, they’ve were named as part of CMT’s Next Women of Country class of 2021. Their debut full-length project came out in 2019, and they’re following up with their newest record The Girls Are Back In Town: a soulful, powerful, bold statement that showcases their range as artists.
The opener of the LP is “Nearly Over You” a smooth, sincere opener. The lead vocals done by Danica begin the track before the waltzing chorus where the three-way harmonies the group prides themselves on, become the center of attention. Their vocals are pure magic together as they unify to express a sense of utter anguish. The lyrics also display a canvas of someone not getting over their past love as they sing, “When we smile and shake hands / And pretend that we’re through / Just know I’ll be in my car crying ‘til I’m blue. Just know I’m not nearly over you.”
In the third number, “I Will Follow,” which acted as a pre-release single, each member of the band opens with a line of their own showing off their distinct voices. They all congregate for the chorus where they sing proudly, “What will keep you chasing the wind, just to keep you chasing it again? / But I know who I am no matter what they say / Where my heart leads the way, I will follow.” After the second chorus, a rush of vocally enchanting “Oohs” add a lush and serene feeling. The acoustic guitar paired with animated claps that keep the beat through the whole song evokes a cheerful and almost hopeful sentiment.
What follows is “Just Say I Love You,” a slow ballad where Danica, the group’s main vocals, sings directly to a lover and begs them not to overanalyze their relationship; she begs for them to simply say those weighty three words. Her vocals shine here with the accompaniment of a strong steel guitar that adds a flicker of twang.
Track five, “Grown Ass Woman” or “GAW” is an intense contrast to the previous song. It’s a unique collaboration with former WWE star Mickie James. The four come together to sing the chorus with a strong saucy “I’m a grown-ass woman / Throw me hell but I still keep coming back / I’m making history / Best believe I’m a different breed / Give you my all but I won’t take shit from anyone here on my thrown.”
One of the most memorable contributions to the project is “Angel.” It features a stunning opening with ethereal instrumentation that distinguishes the song from the rest of the record. The group sings about a young girl who feels like an outcast and is picked on by her peers. The song-writing found in “Angel” is impeccable; as it continues on, the words being sung are so visceral, it plays out in the mind like a movie. In the second chorus Danica exclaims, “Most kids are playing, but she’s steady praying for the strength just to get through the night / The dreams in the distance keep up her resistance as her broken wings try to take flight / Maybe life isn’t fair, but there must be an angel somewhere.” After the second chorus, there’s an interlude that features heavenly background harmonies.
At the very end, a light seems to peek out of the dark as the narrative comes full circle. “She’s no longer scared / ‘Cause she knows there’s an angel somewhere.” What makes country music so special is the ability for the artists in the ever-expanding genre to tell an authentic, relatable story. Through the words they string together and the emotion in their voices, Chapel Hart shows they know how to do it best.
“Jaqui’s Song” is a perfect follow-up to “Angel.” It’s a genuine song about staying humble, growing from the lessons you’re taught in life, and the importance of sticking by the people you care about. In the second verse the girls sing, “If I could say one thing to little girls / I’d say stand up and be strong / Keep on living all those big ole dreams and don’t you stop until their done.” “Jaqui’s Song” sounds like a letter written from a mentor; it’s wise, it’s mature, and it’s sweet. There’s also a fiddle playing in the background that adds profound emotion.
The album ends on a fiery high note with the title track, “The Girls Are Back In Town.” It’s a female empowerment headbanger with overwhelmingly striking electric guitars and active drums. It’s brilliantly sassy and makes reference to Gretchen Wilson and Tanya Tucker. It elicits the feeling of being out on the town with your best friends and feeling an invincible sense of confidence when together. The song bends genre with a blazing rap section that ends with the headstrong one-liner, “We’re the next women of country and it’s our town now.”
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