What makes the difference between someone who can sing and a Singer? Is it the raw vocal power of a Martina McBride or the emotive skills of a Trisha Yearwood? If you have both at a young age, you're a natural: like Logan Brill. In baseball terms, her voice hits for power and average. "Shuteye" follows only two years after her well-received debut.
The libidinous frankness of the opening title track feels out of place with the deeper considerations of the other tunes. Don't let it throw you, and just enjoy a side venture into a swampy blues stomper. It's followed by one of the best tunes, "World Still Round." The call for patience and forgiving oneself for love's bad choices are sweet sentiments. Those themes run like twin rivers through this record, and Brill's vocals dependably squeezes out the feeling every time. Take "The Bees," for example, which easily outdistances Lee Ann Womack's 2008 rendition, or "Halfway Home" - a sort of quiet feminist anthem found in the topic of a walk of shame.
Special mention must be made of Don Schlitz's songwriting contribution, "I Wish You Loved Me." Every so often, he pens one of the best country songs of all time ("The Gambler," "When You Say Nothing At All"), and this joins the set. The stark simplicity of the words and chords join in for a confessional classic.
The rest of the record consists of mid-tempo, Delta-flavored country. It's more forgettable, especially "Far Cry From You" buried in the album's center. But nothing disrupts the forward momentum of the whole project or its vintage appeal.
To Brill's credit, she doesn't come across as a studio creation or puppet (despite the clear grooming going on). All stops seemed to have been pulled to line up A-List songwriting talent. It might be one of those "old soul" situations, but the seasoned pros suit her fine. It's charming to hear someone young and gifted forgoing tales about Twitter, in place of redemptive songs about whiskey bottles and telephones. Brill is an elevator going up, and you're running out of chances to say you were on board early.