TRACK-BY-TRACK REVIEW: Briana Buckmaster Shines in Debut Album

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Briana Buckmaster’s highly anticipated debut album “Begin” was released today, Friday, July 13, 2018. It was released to stream Spotify and Apple Music and is available for purchase from Amazon, iTunes and other music retailers. The album is already showing as the #1 Blues album and #156 over all on iTunes.


“Begin” has quite a mix of different styles on it and Buckmaster rocks them all. She starts the album off with “Do I Move You” which was originally sung by Nina Simone. It’s slow and bluesy and we can hear some of Buckmaster’s range. She nails the notes but it’s more than that, you can close your eyes and FEEL the emotion in her voice roll through you. It’s a great song to wet your appetite for the rest of the album.


From “Do I Move You”, Briana moves into “Good Love” which is not as bluesy as the previous song; it’s more of a blues/pop/country mix. However, there is no slowing Buckmaster down at this point. “Good Love” will have you tapping your feet along with her voice as you sing along. It’s definitely a good morning song as I found out this morning when I listened to it as I got ready for work. This song had me bopping all around my apartment even BEFORE my required 2 cups of coffee.


From “Good Love” we head on over into Country territory. “Gunpowder and Lead”, a song originally written by Miranda Lambert, is a perfect fit for Briana’s voice and Briana delivers again. The beat is upbeat like “Good Love” but definitely a little grittier. I was worried when I saw this song on the set list because I have been a fan of Miranda Lambert for a really long time, and sometimes it’s hard to imagine a song that you know from one artist being sung by another. But with the first line, Briana put all my fears to rest and made me really glad that she had chosen that song.


The album takes a drastic turn after “Gunpowder and Lead” into what is my favorite song on her album, “Better Than That”. The first time I head Briana sing this was in Italy at JibCon 9 this year. When she sang this song the room was so silent you could heard a pin drop and it brought tears to my eyes. This song is gritty, full of emotion, and raw, and she brings all of that to the song. Her voice is raspier in this song, and between her voice and the lyrics, it just makes me FEEL; hope, pain, sadness, love, and loss comes through in every word she sings and it grabs and holds on to me.


Shifting gears yet again, the album goes from “Better Than That” to Briana’s cover of “Wave” by Louden Swain. The arrangement is noticeably different from Louden Swain’s version, but it really works for Briana’s voice. Rob Benedict (lead singer of Louden Swain) also sings and duets the chorus with her; his voice is a perfect compliment to her and you can hear the growth in Rob’s voice from the original track to this version. This is another case where I like the remake as much as the original because it’s an amazing song and Briana and Rob’s voices blend so well together that I hope they perform it together at an upcoming Saturday Night Special concert.


Keeping with the Rob Benedict theme, he and Briana duet again on the next song, “Olive Branch” and again it’s perfection. Their voices blend together and create a feeling of wonderment and hope. It’s also a great testament to Briana’s range how amazing she sounds no matter what she’s singing. Rob brings his usual charisma and amazing voice to the song as well, and it’s just so uplifting and full of hope in a time where there’s very little of that in the world.


Jason Manns (who produced Briana’s album) joins her on “Have a Little Faith in Me”. The two have very distinct tones, but the two voices compliment each other so well throughout the song. I felt like this was Briana’s song to everyone who had backed her in the project; we had unwavering faith in her from the beginning and I feel like that’s what gave her the faith in herself to do this. And I, for one, am so glad that she did.


The final song on the album is “How Will I Know” and this is probably the song I was the most scared of. I grew up when Whitney Houston was in her prime, and I remember dancing to this song with my friends when I was younger. I had her tapes and would play them whenever I could, and even used her music for my dance warm-ups. However, Briana had surpassed EVERY expectation that I had, and the prior song where she was asking for a little faith, I knew it was going to be amazing. Briana took the classic fast-paced pop song and turned it into an amazing ballad, a song that speaks to everyone because love is scary and no one wants to make a mistake. Her voice flows like water over you and just like a lot of her other songs, there is an underlying feeling of hope and acceptance.

Briana really just nailed it. The songs were just perfection, and really showcased the brilliance of Briana’s musical talent. Jason Manns once again killed it as a producer, and Rob Benedict added an amazing blend of vocals and music. We honestly can’t wait to hear more from Briana.

Have you listened to the album? What did you think?

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By Nicole
Nicole just started with Nerds and Beyond this year. She's an avid fangirl of Supernatural and Marvel and loves being able to share her passion with the world through writing. Nicole spends her spare time volunteering with Random Acts, attending conventions and traveling. Her secret power is binge watching Netflix shows from her recliner and swimming in the Atlantic. You can find Nicole on Twitter at @historychick29
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