Cleveland, Ohio — The blurring of boarders between country music and other genres – most notably pop – has overtaken the country music industry, and rising artist Kane Brown’s self-titled deluxe album, which hit shelves Oct. 6, has taken that notion in stride, but in a new direction.

The new album, a four-song extension of the original release, incorporates country themes and lyrics with an R&B style and sound. This comes as little surprise, as Brown has stated that the two genres are his biggest influences.

Brown got his start on social media, posting covers of popular country songs that caught peoples’ attentions, allowing him to start building a fan-base.

A December, 2016 Washington Post article claimed that the country music industry was “skeptical” of Brown’s social media-fueled success and was not sold on his talent.

The songs on Brown’s album prove those skeptics wrong, which is evident by the success of his near-chart-topping single “What Ifs.” The four additional songs on his deluxe edition further prove why Brown is here to stay.

In a style that can be closest related to fellow country music star Sam Hunt, Brown uses his deep, powerful voice to create a sound that fills the room and immerses the listener into the stories behind each track.

The album features three singles, all released before the deluxe version.

Released in 2016, “Ain’t no Stopping us Now” is a summertime party song that celebrates three country music staples: bikinis, farmers tans and fast cars. The up-beat song closely mirrors a Florida Georgia line style of country pop. The song reached 19 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.

The second single on the album – also released in 2016 – is “Thunder in the Rain.” This song creates a metaphor between love and a thunderstorm by equating the intensity of lightning to the power of love. The lyrics, “You’re fire, I’m lightning / We’re burning at the core / Falling and crashing / Girl, we’re a perfect storm” portray this message well. The song peaked at 30 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs.

The album’s third and newest single, “What Ifs,” features fellow up-and-comer Lauren Alaina, who finished runner-up on the 2011 season of American Idol. Brown and Alaina attended middle school together.

Brown’s most successful song to date, “What Ifs” has reached number two on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs and is RIAA certified platinum. The song features Brown asking a series of “what if” questions, such as “What if I was made for you and you were made for me?” and “What if I just pulled you close, what if I leaned in and the stars line up and it’s our last first kiss?” Alaina provides backup vocals.

The song has put Brown on the map. The presence of the song in undeniable, as Brown’s smooth, deep voice and Alaina’s powerful, high voice blend well together.

The four new songs on the deluxe album, “Found you,” “Heaven,” “What’s Mine is Yours” and “Setting the Night on Fire” show Brown’s continued improvement as a singer and songwriter.

Brown proves with “Heaven” and “What’s Mine is Yours” that he can he can utilize his strong voice to belt out ballads that will make listeners tap their foot and nod along. A music video was also released along with “Heaven,” which could foreshadow the song as his next single.

What is most impressive on this album is Brown showcasing his vocal range. It was already known that Brown could get deep, but his comfort with high octaves that accompany the deepness add a new, refreshing sound to his songs.

While Brown is certainly well on his way to music stardom, he must continue to work on developing his own identity. Starting off a music career by covering other artists can sometimes be a lethal decision because the singer will always be thought of as the person who covered another person’s song, but Brown covered a variety of artists and styles, which will hopefully negate him from this path.

Brown’s unique look certainly helps his case, as well. His tall, clean-cut build paired with the tattoos and 21st Century wardrobe make him visually appealing to the younger country music audience.

Brown is arriving at the right time, as Sam Hunt has, so far, been the only artist to majorly tap the country/R&B market.

Kane Brown’s album Kane Brown (Deluxe Edition) is available now at major retailers and at deluxe.kanebrownmusic.com. 

Photo courtesy www.tasteofcountry.com

Matthew is a junior Journalism major at Cleveland State University. He is originally from Lake Milton, Ohio but lives in Cleveland for school and work. He works for the Cleveland Indians as a merchandising stand captain and specializes in game used and other authentic items. In his free time, Matthew enjoys watching and learning about sports and spending time with friends and family.

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