22 May 2012

Review: Ann Claire - Honkytonk Princess

It’s good to be the king, but when you are Ann Claire it’s even better being the princess. Ann isn’t just the Honkytonk Princess; she is literally a real princess. She is the granddaughter of HH Princess Shams of Iran's Pahlavi Dynasty.
Ann Claire is far from what you would expect from a princess though. Ann grew up in London and Los Angeles. She attended school in England, Switzerland and Spain. She majored in film and television with a minor in sociology at University of Southern California. She also studied theatre and voice at San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theatre. She is proud to be an American citizen and loves country music with her whole heart and soul.
As someone who already has fortune and fame, Ann has risked it all to follow her dream. Ann says, “This has never been for me about being famous or rich. Those things are not of interest to me at all. All I’ve ever wanted to do is write great songs and make a difference in the world, and sing and present them in a way where they will affect people.”
If you are going to call yourself the Honkytonk Princess, you better be ready to back up that claim. Out of the gate with the song, “Better Girl”, Ann Claire shows that writing and singing country music comes as easy to her as sliding off a greasy log backwards.  Her voice is unique, but if I had to compare it to someone I would probably say it reminds me a little of Dolly Parton with some Kate Bush mixed in here and there.
The song “Lucky Me” quickly became my favorite with its great banjo intro and witty lyrics. I am impressed that with her privileged upbringing, Ann Claire is able to put her life experiences into words that ring true to rural America. I am sure part of this is due to her experiences working as a waitress at a barbecue joint when she first moved to Nashville. She didn’t even own a car. Not something your typical pampered princess would do.
The title track of Honkytonk Princess shows that you don’t have to be born into royalty to be treated like a princess. “I don’t think it matters at all whether you’re from a trailer park or a palace, you’ve gotta know who you are, what you’re worth, and don’t you take a cent less.”
Honkytonk Princess finishes with a nice ballad “Somewhere”, reminding us that life is about enjoying the journey and not worrying about the destination. “I couldn’t say just where I’m headed yet,   but I’m headed somewhere”. 
Ann co-wrote 8 of the 12 songs on this CD. The lyrics are witty and honest with a sense of vulnerability to them. Watch out Nashville there is a new girl in town and she is tearin’ it up. Honkytonk Princess is the best new country album that I have heard this year. Ann Claire is soon to be taking her rightful place as an heir in the country music royal family.  
4.5/5 Stars
Key Tracks: Better Girl, Lucky Me, Somewhere
Kirk Bullough

1. Better Girl
2. Dark Horse
3. Lucky Me
4. Good Enough
5. Honkytonk Princess
6. Here to Home
7. Let’s Go To Mexico
8. Way That I Do
9. Go With Me
10. If I Leave Here Tonight
11. Gettin' Good At This
12. Somewhere

Artist:  Ann Claire
Title:  Honkytonk Princess
Genre:  Country/Pop
Release Date: February 21, 2012
Label:  Prosody Records
Website:  http://princessannclaire.com/

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