Charlie Marie releases EP


Like a wispy spring breeze, a soft and tender vocal from Charlie Marie slips out of our stereos and into the airspace alongside a mischievous string picking. “Just because you wear a Stetson, and you say you were made in Texas, doesn’t mean that you’re country and western,” she croons, her words dripping with irony in this not so subtle stab at her commercial brethren in Nashville. This is “Rhinestones,” the record-opener for Marie’s self-titled EP that is expected to see release this May 3rd (“Rhinestones” is also being released as a single on April 19th), and it’s setting the table for what is an undeniably mammoth quintet of marvelous melodies and righteous rhythms from its composer. Charlie Marie is the sequel to her debut that we’ve been waiting on for four years, and it lives up to all of the hype it’s received and then some.

“Rodeo” shifts gears from where we leave off in “Rhinestones,” but it doesn’t shelve the emotional tone that makes the first track such a phenomenally engaging starter. Here, Marie is taking her verses slow and leaving some space for her backing band to fill in the miniscule gaps with an integral texture that makes all of her words feel so much more vivid and real. Beside the decadent twang of “Countryside,” “Rodeo” seems painfully simple, but my gut tells me that this would have been the case regardless of what was put in front of this rambling folk song. “Countryside” isn’t aggressive, but it’s got a pulsating percussion that is tension-inducing and unmatched in terms of evocativeness within this record.

“Shot in the Dark” is my favorite song from Charlie Marie. It gets rolling in a haze of melancholic slide guitar, with Marie piercing the cloudy melody with her sharp, iridescent vocal. It’s the closest that she gets to surrealism in this extended play, and when taking into account its shapeless rhythm, it’s also one of the more eccentric compositions that I’ve heard her perform in her brief time in the spotlight. The self-explanatory “Playboy” sways with a swaggering arrogance in its string section, but Marie is anything but conceited in her execution of the lyrics. She’s as bright as a new day’s sun in this track, and when it comes to a conclusion, one is tempted to play it all over again, just for the opportunity to bask in its easygoing beats.

The one honest complaint that I have with Charlie Marie is that, as was the case with its predecessor, it’s too short. Marie is working with a lot of raw, uncompromising talent in the studio these days, and if you were one of the fans demanding a full-length LP back in 2015, you’re going to be all the hungrier for more content after letting this latest record sink its long, sharp hooks into your skin. At this juncture, she’s still got so many options moving forward in her career, and no matter what route she chooses to take, I plan on keeping a close eye on everything that she submits.


Gwen Waggoner