Hannah Ellis Shows Growth With New Release “Wine Country”

Kentucky native and Curb Records artist Hannah Ellis continues her ascent in Country Music with new release “Wine Country”. This new foray into an ever-brighter spotlight couples inspired strands of traditional country with spirited rock influences that mix in fresh and energetic ways. Few artists enjoying success today claim the same disciplined pedigree that Ellis boasts. On the heels of a self-financed debut EP, she planted her flag in Music City and took wing in the whirlwind of working with writers and connecting with industry powerhouses. It’s paid immediate dividends. Her nearly 40 million career streams attest to that. A growing discography of original songs and genre-crossing credits as a singer for acts as diverse as Sidewalk Prophets, Carly Pearce, Cassadee Pope, and FILMORE, among others, further burnishes her growing reputation.

“Wine Country” has the potential to be her brightest moment yet. Co-written with husband Nick Wayne and co-producer Clint Lagerberg, it pops out of your speakers with boisterous self-assurance. Ellis’ voice carries listeners into the song with authority on a simmering stream of banjo and percussion before beginning in earnest. The crash of power chords and thunderous drums pairs well with the persistent banjo undercurrent, but Ellis’ voice remains the center. It reaches a well-orchestrated crescendo with the song’s chorus. 

Ellis and her co-writers cut the lyrics from the same cloth as decades of country music paeans about the joys of beer and whiskey. They turn those sentiments on their head, however, praising the virtues of vino instead of whiskey or hops. It’s a clever bit of individualism separating the song from the pack. However, she foregoes the rugged swaggering of her predecessors in favor of outright joy. Ellis sings with beaming pride about how loving a glass of wine corresponds to her other choices in life. Spelling out her catalog of affections for listeners in relatable, well-tailored terms is one of the keys to the song’s success.

The musical highlight of the song arrives near the two-minute mark. It bursts into a blistering guitar solo straight out of the Southern rock playbook. Ellis brings us back through a final cumulative verse before closing the song out. She fills the performance with more fire in two minutes and forty-five seconds than many other artists do in twice that time. The condensed passion she packs into this arrangement sparks to life from the outset and never dims. It’s polished, skillful, and utterly authentic.

It’s the spot-on next step Ellis needs to take. The crowning touch is the light concept video Ellis concocted riffing on a “Real Housewives” theme and filmed on location in California’s scenic Napa Valley. It’s a high-quality production relying on various standard music video tropes yet given an added boost from Ellis’ undeniable presence in front of the camera. “Wine Country” is an outstanding overall package that promises to be the next notable peak in a career on the rise. Hannah Ellis has come a long way from her Campbellsville, Kentucky beginnings – but she’s never forgotten where she came from. Or where she’s going. 

Gwen Waggoner