It’s a thrilling feeling when hearing a new artist for they first time, and immediately being excited for where their career may take them.
That’s the feeling I got when first listening to Emma Peterson’s new Album Just For The Record.
To be honest, I had not been aware of Emma Peterson up to now, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when first pressing play on her new collection of songs. To say I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement.
Hailing from Winnipegosis, Manitoba (population 617 at last count), the small town vibes are a constant theme throughout the 6 song set.
About The Album Just For The Record
Have a listen to the album while you’re reading about it …
Starting with “Maybe Tonight”, a party anthem for anyone with small town roots, Peterson paints the perfect picture of having to make your own kind of fun.
“We all know a place that nobody knows about” she sings before belting out the anthemic chorus. “If you want to paint the town, I have a couple friends, we can show you around”, showcasing the need for some locals only knowledge in one stop sign towns.
She ends the bridge with “you’ll never get a night like this anywhere else”. Anyone who grew up out in the country can instantly relate.
Title track “Just for the Record” keeps the party going with a catchy tune about a break up. While that may sound like an oxymoron, Peterson cleverly sings about leveraging her heartbreak to create her art, using her ex as her muse and thanking him for giving her something to write a song about.
“I’m glad you walked away, because you gave me something to say” she says at the beginning of the song, before ending the empowering chorus with “Thanks for the heartbreak. Hey Look what I made! Yeah I thought you were the one, you were just another one for the record”.
The slowest song of the bunch, “Backroad Dreams”, is a gorgeous track that perfectly captures the reality of living beyond where you grew up, and how life doesn’t always work out as you planned.
“I guess the highway will never see our backroad dreams”, she sings with a beautiful sadness, realizing that the dreams you have for your life beyond high school don’t always come true.
“One More Night” gets the party started again, a standout track with a driving beat, about missing someone and wanting to be with them again, even if just for one more night, “Hurt Like Hell”, is a great mid-tempo ballad about realizing and feeling the pain of a breakup, and using it as a reminder to not go back.
The set ends with an acoustic version of the title track.
More About Emma Peterson
While Just For The Record is Peterson’s debut album, she’s no stranger to the Canadian country music scene, having accumulated multiple Manitoba Country Music Award nominations, including a win in the Emerging Artist category.
Back in 2016, she became one of the top 4 finalists in CMT’s Chevy Tailgate Contest, and her song was featured on CMT’s Chevy Top 20, introducing her to audiences across Canada.
All of this as a result of a serendipitous listen to a Taylor Swift album years ago (“Right then I knew I wanted to play her songs”) a $50 guitar from Walmart, and countless hours watching videos on YouTube teaching herself chords. “I would watch those videos over and over and music really became the love of my life. I still can’t imagine doing anything else.” she says.
Of the songs, Peterson says “the album encompasses my story and the first songs I have been able to share with the world. Songs like “Maybe Tonight” and “Backroad Dreams” are true stories of growing up in my hometown. I couldn’t be more excited to share this part of me.”
The highlight of the record, though, isn’t one particular song, but Peterson’s voice. Throughout the songs, her voice is both unique enough to get your ears perked up and invited into her stories, yet familiar enough to feel like you’re being sung to by a lifelong friend. She’s a vocal powerhouse that can equally belt out an empowering message in one chorus, or softly sing of sadness in the next.
But her talents don’t stop there. Having a hand in writing four of the five tracks on the album, the collection highlights her ability to do what some of the best country artists do – tell relatable stories. And tell them well.
Just For The Record is a perfect pop-country collection of engaging, crowd-pleasing songs from an up-and-coming talent you’re going to want to keep your ears on. While this may be just the beginning for Emma Peterson, the album lays the foundation for what I predict will be a long and successful career, and I’ll say that on the record!