Canadian country artist Brett Kissel sure knows how to celebrate New Year’s Eve! He rang in 2020 by releasing his much anticipated album “Now or Never”.
When a new year begins, everyone starts to think about what they want to accomplish in the coming months. Whether it’s starting a new diet, reading a new book, or starting a new class, most people think “well, it’s now or never!”. How fitting, then, that Brett Kissel chose January 1st, 2020 to release his latest collection of songs, aptly named “Now or Never”.
If you know anything about Canadian country music, you undoubtedly have heard the name Brett Kissel, either from his 14 Top 10 radio hits, his record breaking 112-date tour across Canada, or his most recent winsas Fans Choice Winner at the 2019 CCMA Awards, and winning Country Album of the Year at the 2019 JUNO Awards. All these accomplishments, and yet, the 8 songs on “Now or Never” pulse with an underlying sense of “I’m just getting started”.
The set kicks off with the first single released from the album, “Drink About Me”, a reflective ode to a missed love, which has recently hit the 10 million streams mark. And while it’s a nice start to the record, the album kicks into high gear with upbeat tracks “A Few Good Stories” (which I feel is going to be my personal Song of the Summer – you can’t listen to it and not picture yourself with friends, singing along around a campfire, by a lake, or just generally having a great time under the sun or stars!), the anthemic “Young Enough” and the pulsing “She Drives Me Crazy”, co-written by Emma-Lee and Karen Kosowski, who also had a hand in Kissel’s Gold Certified track “Anthem”.
But when the album slows down is where it really shines. “That’s Country Music” is a ballad I’m determined to play as my answer to anyone who asks me “Why do you listen to country music?” I’ll just be like “LISTEN TO THIS!” and press play. It perfectly encapsulated why country music is so special, with a chorus that states “it hits the heart and soul and just feels right.” “Hummingbird” is a stunning song, also co-written by Emma-Lee and Karen Kosowski, showing their insanely talented range, and highlighting why they’re some of the best songwriters around. “You’ll believe her, but she’s a leaver. You’ll never see her, it’s all a blur. With arms wide open, I’ll let it go, ’cause you can’t hold a hummingbird” Kissel sings with a heartbreaking tone. The best track on the album, in my humble opinion.
“I’m Not Him,I’m Not Her”, sung with Nashville-based singer Christina Taylor, is a classic country duet, about a couple re-assuring each other that maybe they should trust being in a relationship. The album ends with the romantic “Coffee With Her”. Inspired by a famous Johnny Cash quote, you can tell he’s singing directly to his wife, Cecilia (If you follow either Brett or Cecilia Kissel on social media, you know they’re #RelationShipGoals) but the message here is universal for anyone who has that “special someone” in their life. A simple, heartwarming close to the album.
All in all, while I wish the whole set had more songs, this album is the true definition of “all killer, no filler”. 8 extremely solid tracks, among some of Kissel’s best, to get your new year started right. And if you’ve never bought or streamed a Brett Kissel album before, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? IT’S NOW OR NEVER!!