There are a lot of big voices in country music, especially in the United States. A big voice can come naturally, or it can be cultivated. In either case there’s no guarantee that big is best. Sometimes the singer relies on the power of the voice to convey the message and doesn’t develop technique. Sometimes they just don’t sound like they believe in what they’re singing. But I wouldn’t be reviewing Kayla Woodson’s eponymous debut EP if that were the case.
Louisiana native, now Nashville resident, Woodson has a mighty instrument in her voice, and she sings from the heart and from the gutsiest part of her register. If we look past the feeling in her singing, the technical accomplishment is there too.
I’m one of those people who listens to the voice first, then the lyrics, so Woodson could have been singing a shopping list for all I noticed at first. Instead the EP is a collection of songs – all of them co-written by Woodson – some of which are about love and associated difficulties (country music is also noted for not doing love easily). It’s also clear that she sings from a place of confidence and strength, which is very appealing.
This is a solid EP from an artist who clearly knows what she’s doing. Now that she’s living in Nashville, she’s no doubt met a lot of other artists like that. What differentiates an artist who finds an audience from one who does not is often due to how well they connect to an audience. I want to keep listening to Woodson singing, so I’d say she’s got that part covered.
Kayla Woodson is out now.