"Family Ties," the EP released by Nashville-based Kassie Miller brings a contemporary fresh, spin to country. Each track has its own unique theme, but is deeply rooted in country, and together with husband Benjamin Wilson, they create an eclectic, confident album.
Title track "Family Ties" is sweet and sentimental. Kassie sings about how even when she's made bad decisions and gone down broken roads, family is something she can rely on. "All good things come with pain/ and I'm proud of my last name," she sings.
Holiday song "Seasons Greetings" holds its own on an album not similarly themed. It helps that it's not a light, cutesy song about snowmen, Santa Claus or mistletoe. Rather, it's about something much more relatable: members of a dysfunctional family who have all come together for the holidays, much to the singer's annoyance. Her sister's cussing; the babies crying; an aunt is being overdramatic and making a fuss about little things. "Holidays come and go/ But some things never change," Kassie sings. "From my crazies to yours, Seasons greetings!" What's endearing about the song is its honesty. As frustrated as she is with these people, they're still her family. Returning to the theme of the title track, family ties are something she respects.
Other than family-themed tracks, another strong area is empowering break-up songs. "Pawn on Your Chessboard" literally and effectively gets across the idea that this person is tired of being manipulated. "There're just some things I can't ignore/ I won't be pawn on your chessboard," she sings. What's stronger, though, is "Waiting on You to Change," the most solid stand-alone track. Kassie accesses something energetic, angry and powerful. After 10 years, she's realizes she's done. She sings about someone who's nothing more than "alcohol and smoke" and finally being done with it.
Overall, seasoned musicians Miller proves herself to be a confident musician. On a fun, mature third album.