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Review by: 
Nashville New Music Examiner

When young American Idol hopeful Ayla Brown got her shot at impressing the judges back in 2005-2006, she presented herself well enough to keep their ear and make it to the final 16, yet Idol judge Randy Jackson was still not certain that Brown had a distinguished enough voice. At the time, Jackson may have been right.

Fast forward to 2012. Over a half-decade later finds Massachusetts native Ayla Brown releasing her self-titled country album without the platform of American Idol to launch from, but doing so with all of the polish and conviction of an artist who has continued to chase her dreams and realize the potential others could not foresee.

If Jackson were to listen to Brown’s latest release he might hear occasional subtle tone similarities to Nancy Wilson of Heart or Katrina Leskanich when Brown delivers a soft and breathy passage. Or he could possibly even hear a little Sara Evans in Brown’s phrasing and delivery, but in song after song on this album, when Brown attacks a chorus, the voice, conviction and tone are all Ayla.

Ayla Brown’s latest endeavor is jam packed with hooky, radio-friendly country rockers that quickly get listeners acquainted with their replay button.

Brown sets the tone for the album with her first track Ain’t Leavin’. The upbeat and punchy country rock song portrays a woman leaving a bad relationship with the confidence and fortitude to not look back.

The second cut, Miss You Already, roller coasters up and down, offering the vocal dynamics that Idol judge Paula Abdul may have been seeking from Brown years ago, as the soft and airy verses transition to a powerful chorus that Brown delivers with soulful conviction.

There are hints of an Alanis Morissette influence in Goodbye For Good as Brown continues along the finding-your-freedom-after-a-break-up track and provides the listener with another country rocking, head-bobbing excuse to reach for the volume knob.

Her songs Country Found Me and Beat By a Girl give Brown the opportunity to reflect on her past and the road that has led her to pursue her dreams in Nashville.

Brown puts the bow on a strong album with Can’t Make Up My Mind, a tender and dynamic ballad that separates itself from the rest of the album, and by doing so showcases how far she has come since she was first introduced to the public on Fox’s blockbuster reality show.

Brown has delivered one of the best independent albums from an American Idol alumnus to date. Her self-titled album Ayla Brown is available on I-tunes.

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