Album of the Month (December 2016): Kane Brown, ‘Kane Brown’
The competition was fierce, and the results were close -- just 2.1 percent separated the winner from his competition -- but The Boot's readers have spoken: Kane Brown's self-titled major-label debut album is December 2016's Album of the Month.
Brown's Album of the Month victory was due in no small part to the devoted fan base he's built via social media. Before being signed to Sony Music Nashville's RCA Nashville in late January, the singer -- who had previously auditioned for American Idol and X Factor -- earned a bevy of followers thanks to his covers of songs by well-known artists such as George Strait. Also prior to his major-label signing, Florida Georgia Line had selected Brown as an opening act for their 2016 Dig Your Roots Tour -- a trek that, no doubt, earned him even more fans.
In March, Brown released his major-label debut EP, Chapter 1; he co-wrote four of the project's five tracks with co-writers including Chris Young, Corey Crowder and Josh Hoge. The record’s lead single was “Used to Love You Sober,” which earned a spot near the top of the iTunes country chart in late 2015, prior to Brown's signing with Sony / RCA. "Used to Love You Sober" will not appear on Kane Brown, but two tracks that Brown has shared in recent months -- "Ain't No Stopping Us Now" and "Thunder in the Rain" -- will.
In addition to "Ain't No Stopping Us Now" and "Thunder in the Rain," Kane Brown features nine songs; seven of its 11 total tracks were co-written by Brown himself, and labelmates Chris Young and Florida Georgia Line helped pen tunes as well. One of the project's most personal songs is "Learning," on which Brown talks about three different stages of his life and gets honest with his listeners about what he’s been through.
“When I was six years old, I kinda wet the bed / My stepdad came in and nearly beat me to death …," Brown begins in "Learning." The second verse finds the up-and-comer recalling middle school and his “new problems,” such as trying to fit in but “gettin’ looked down on just because of your skin” and being unable to afford the brand names his classmates were wearing, while in the song’s final verse, Brown mourns friends gone too soon due to drugs and violence. The chorus of “Learning,” however, offers a good message to any listener holding on to a grudge or a past letdown: “I’m gonna let it go / Forgiveness / Is somethin’ we gotta know / 'Cause if you hold on forever, it’ll hurt your soul / That’s why I’m learnin’ how to let it go.”
Brown is currently out on the road for his headlining Ain't No Stopping Us Now Tour. Details about the trek are available on the singer’s website, and Kane Brown -- which is set for release on Dec. 2 -- is available for purchase on iTunes.
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