Bri Bagwell has carried the torch as the preeminent female Texas Music performer for the last decade. If there’s a festival bill, you can bet she’s on it. Far too often she has been the only female on those bills. Undeterred, Bagwell has always taken advantage of her opportunities. She and her Banned have won over fans from across Texas, Oklahoma, the country and even Europe. Bagwell has been featured on TV shows and Texas radios for a decade. She’s proven to be fearless, driven, humorous, relatable and multi-faceted. Her career has been built on the strength of her live show and her writing and records, while solid, have never exactly matched the intensity and quality of the live product. Bagwell has been open about this and has challenged herself to create songs that connect with people. The way she’s done that is by writing the most personal, vulnerable, open and honest songs of her career.
With the release of Corazon y Cabeza, Bagwell is staking her songwriting claim. Bagwell has been a prolific songwriter the past few years and had dozens of songs to whittle down to 11 tracks with producer Rachel Loy (William Clark Green, Adam Hood). Lead track “Trenches” is a testament to fighting through the hard times with your significant other. Sure, you’re there for me when times are good…but where are you when times are tough? If you’re the right one, you’re right next to me in the ditch. “‘Til I Can Let Go Of You”, is the type of getting over someone song that used to be common on 90’s country radio. It evokes the best work of artists such as Lorrie Morgan, Patty Loveless and Pam Tillis. It’s good to hear Bagwell bringing that type of adult, serious life content back to the fold.
The serious stuff is balanced out by the upbeat rapid fire lyrics of lead single “Free Man” and “Table Manners”. Not to mention the clever lyric play on words in “Cowboy Cold” that will make you press repeat. Those songs will make for good pieces of the standard energy in a Bri Bagwell live show. Yet, throughout the album, it’s the understated and pressing content in songs like “Happy New Year” that reveal the guard-down, openness that Bagwell took into these songs and this project. Album closer “Old Together” is a fresh spin on lyrical territory that has been tackled many times before. Think of it as a female’s answer to Jason Isbell’s “If We Were Vampires”.
Bri Bagwell has worked hard to get to this point of her career. And this album is a showcase of what music does best when it is personal and from the heart. If there’s any musical justice, this album will grow Bagwell’s audience and find all the ears, hearts and souls that really need to hear what she has to say. Because, it’s likely something you’ve felt before or wanted to say. The heart and the head indeed.