The Henningsens, ‘American Beautiful’ (Sony Nashville/Arista)
If you like the Band Perry, you’ll probably find yourself enamored of “American Beautiful,” the debut album from the Henningsens.
The father-daughter-son trio of songwriters had a hand in penning five tracks off the Band Perry’s self-titled debut album and seven songs on its 2013 sophomore effort, “Pioneer,” including the lush title track.
“American Beautiful” is front loaded with potential singles, to the point that you almost wish the Henningsens had kept a few of those winners they gave to the Band Perry for themselves. Only the poignant “Arkansas” saves the back half.
Starting things off is the title track, a muscular, joyous rocker that reached No. 17 on the Billboard U.S. Country Airplay chart. It’s a great way for the band to introduce itself, with a catchy chorus and the driving bass of father Brian Henningsen leading the way.
The best song on the album is “Down.” A mid-tempo rumination on loyalty, it’s a thematic cousin of the Band Perry’s “Better Dig Two” — ironically one of the few on “Pioneer” the Henningsens had no hand in writing.
In “Down,” lead singer Clara Henningsen reassures her lover, “And they dig you a grave, well they best make it two/they lay you down, they lay me down/we’re going down.” Fans of mainstream country will appreciate the knowing lyrical wink as well as the fine balance of craftsmanship and Music Row sheen.
Owen R. Smith, Special to The Seattle Times
Other new releases
Joe, “Doubleback Evolution of R&B” (Massenburg)
John Scofield, “Uberjam Deux” (Decca)
Zomby, “With Love” (4AD)