Brooke Barrettsmith by Brooke Barrettsmith | CD Reviews And Information | NewReleaseToday

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Brooke Barrettsmith [edit]
by Brooke Barrettsmith | Genre: Pop/Rock | Release Date: August 19, 2008

At only 26, new Essential artist Brooke Barrettsmith has discovered a wisdom that eludes many twice her age. This is a young woman who is completely comfortable in her own skin and thoroughly certain of the career path she's chosen in Christian music.

Adept at guitar and piano, as well as a prolific writer, Brooke's musical heritage runs deep. "My dad's mom was a Broadway singer in Chicago, and my mom's mom was an Italian opera singer in Chicago. My dad was a professional musician, too. When he was 18 years old, he started doing session drumming and played at venues in Chicago with blues legends like Buddy Guy and B.B. King. So I guess I had no choice? It's in my blood!"

On her self-titled debut, Brooke crafts a style uniquely her own, melding her love of Jeremy Camp, Daughtry and Kelly Clarkson with passionate lyrics that reflect her own life and experiences.

Track Listing
Click here to add a video. Click to add lyrics if not listed.
01. Right Now
02. More Real
03. Farewell
04. Quiet My Heart
05. Breakthrough
06. Father
07. Anymore
08. OK
09. Quiet Streets
10. Paper Tigers

Entry last edited by laurenlaurenk on 02.23.09

Christian CD Reviews
(22) Total Review(s) | Average NRTeam Rating:
Rated 4 Stars
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Solid Power Pop Album | Posted October 13, 2008
Brooke Barrettsmith is another alum of the hit show American Idol, Season 5 and her debut album draws comparisons to fellow alums Kelly Clarkson, Carly Smithson and established CCM veteran and multiple female vocalist of the year Natalie Grant, in that her style can best be described as power pop similar to 1980's pop icons Heart and Pat Benatar. Those are fair comparisons as you listen to the solid vocals and guitar riffs. In essence, this album is the Christian counterpart to 2007's My December by Kelly Clarkson.

Brooke Barrettsmith kicks it off with Right Now, a power pop song similar to Never Again by Kelly Clarkson. Other stand-out songs are More Real, the first single Farewell and Father. The album has a nice feel to it and is accessible, but possibly a bit too manufactured sounding and not quite raw enough. The second half of the album winds down and closes nicely with Paper Tigers a nice ballad with the encouraging lyrics "Look around, don't you fear, Paper tigers are your enemy, I know they seem real, Stretch out your hands and feel, The wind against your fingertips, And know that help is here, Right here". Solid debut by Brooke Barrettsmith and I'm looking forward to more.

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Brooke Barrettsmith [Brooke Barrettsmith] | Posted October 07, 2008
Like I have mentioned in previous reviews, I have not always been the biggest fan of female vocalists or even female-led rock bands. But, that was back in the day before I myself had given my life to Christ. But since then, the Lord has opened up my eyes and I have become a huge fan of female-led rock bands, such as Barlow Girl, Fireflight, Flyleaf and more recently Addison Road. In more recent time, three others have joined the mix. First it was Meredith Andrews in April, and then Francesca Battistelli in July and now August brings another talented ‘girl-at-the-helm’ in twenty-six year-old, Brooke Barrettsmith.

Barrettsmith is a native of the Chicago-area, and like her city-by-the-lake counterparts Barlow Girl, she can rock it out while still bringing a meaningful and ministering message to her audience.

At first listen, Brooke sounded a lot to me like Fireflight’s lead singer, Dawn Richardson. It’s the musical style that really separates the two and of course the message. Brooke according to the press release for her album, said she had infused a lot of issues she faced as a teenager into her music, which has been credited to her as making her into the woman she is today.
After listening through to the whole CD, a lot of the songs stuck out to me lyrically. The message behind “Farewell” was amazing. It’s a song that reminds us that no matter what we faced in lives prior to salvation, know that we have to let that go and keep our focus on Christ. I especially like the chorus, which says “Say farewell / To all of your mistakes / Forgive yourself / It’s a brand new day.” This to me depicts what 2 Corinthians 5:17. Once saved, we’re a ‘new creation’ in Christ. The former things have passed away. I like the general focus of the song.

Some other songs of note on the album that I found fun to listen to were, “Right Now”, “Quiet My Heart”, “Father” and the piano-driven “Paper Tigers”.

Production on the album, mastered by Aaron Sprinkle (Kutless, Underoath & The Almost) is done superbly as usual. I think this is one thing that also made the album stick out is the pristine production work done on the album. Definitely worth noting.

Overall, Brooke’s release would fit into the impressive column, but the one thing that it lacked was originality. I know it’s hard in this day in time to release something that is ‘totally innovative and unique’. There are very few bands out there that sound totally unique compared to the next one, but I do give Brooke the thumbs up for the fact that she has an amazing voices and more importantly uses that talent to honor and glorify Christ with her music.

Overall, I liked what Brooke had to offer on her debut. There is definitely a lot of room for growth both musically and lyrically, but I think she did a good job in presenting her own interpretation of the Gospel in her music while at the same time, taking listeners on a journey into her life and the struggles she has had to overcome. I look forward to what Brooke will have to offer in the future and know that after listening to her debut, she will continue to pour her life and her heart into her music.

Rating: 8.4 out of 10 (84%, B)

Review written by: Jay Heilman | Review can also be found here.

This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from Click here to visit today!

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GIRL ROCK DONE RIGHT | Posted September 29, 2008
In an age of female rocker clones who’ve either idolized Avril Lavigne or Kelly Clarkson, it’s refreshing to find a singer/songwriter/guitarist who really plugs in with power, while putting her own introspective pen to paper. Enter Brooke Barrettsmith, the Chicago-based string slinger whose grandmothers were Broadway and opera singers respectively, with a father who played the Windy City blues scene alongside the legendary likes of B.B. King and Buddy Guy.

That vast musical heritage shines throughout the razor sharp riffs of “Right Now” (which could be likened to Liz Phair fronting Daughtry), along with the feisty “More Real,” loaded with lyrical transparency that seeks to blast away insecurities through full reliance on the Lord. The rollicking alt-rock romp “OK” serves as an anti-anxiety elixir, which contains even more authenticity from the fact that the singer struggled with the issue throughout her teen years.

Though she doesn’t act like she has all the answers now in her 20s, Barrettsmith is especially assertive, serving as an empowering example for young women, concurrently connecting with any guy searching for some female fronted ferocity. “Breakthrough” is the best example of that faith-based liberation, bathed in pleading vocals and the balance between emotive instrumentation and fully wound guitar charges. All in all, it’s an exceptional debut from an intelligent song sculptor, capable of meeting listeners from various walks of life, amidst confirming that some girls can really rock. –Andy Argyrakis

This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from Click here to visit today!

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Brooke Barrettsmith's "Brooke Barrettsmith": A Review | Posted September 02, 2008
by C.E. Moore

Long live the female rocker! Right now, it seems as if the Christian music world is being inundated with female-fronted rock bands (Flyleaf, Fireflight) and female rockers (Joy Whitlock). Some are good. Some I’d rather never hear again. Entering the fray is American Idol Season 5 alum Brooke Barrettsmith with her self-titled debut on Essential Records.

Barrettsmith’s sound is straight-ahead, good old-fashioned rock and roll that should appeal to a wide range of listeners. For those looking for a solid rock sound will get it. Those in need of cheerful Christian lyrics will find them. Those interested in continuing their American Idol obsession need look no further.

Barrettsmith’s material vacillates between grinding, crunching sonic dissonance and stripped-down, melodic ballads. The album boasts a good mix of both. “Right Now” starts things out hard and fast. There’s not a lot of intricate layering of the instruments, but it’ll get listeners out of their seats and dancing hard. “Farewell” is one of the best tracks on the album, both instrumentally and vocally. It is very unassuming but powerful in focus and delivery. Barrettsmith uses the track to encourage people to move past mistakes and into a “brand new day.” “Quiet My Heart” is a moving and prayerful ballad that cries out “Right here in the moment I’m given/I’ll treasure the breath that I breathe in/And I’ll rest in you/You quiet my heart…” Barrettsmith’s vocals are lithe and heartfelt as she sings out the lyrics. “Breakthrough” sounds a bit like a brooding ode to fellow American Idol alum Kelly Clarkson, but it works. Another prayer, Barrettsmith implores for God to break through the silence. “Ok” is more of a piano-driven piece and the layering of Barrettsmith’s vocals is exquisite. “Paper Tigers” is a wonderful piece of poetry and Barrettsmith ends the album on a light and deeply contemplative piece.

The downside to the album is that some of the tracks start to sound like other ones and Barrettsmith’s voice sometimes strays into Rebecca St. James territory, such as on “Father.” And, while Barrettsmith had a hand in penning all of the songs, the final song credits read like a veritable who’s who of Christian music producers, which can come across as a bit disingenuous.

If you’re going to name your album after yourself, you had better deliver something that says who you are. “Brooke Barrettsmith” is a proper introduction to the artist of the same name. She has worked hard to craft an album that is intensely listenable and fresh.

This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from The Christian Manifesto. Click here to visit today!

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Nathan (188)
Rated 3 Stars

Not a huge “breakthrough” but certainly a good debut | Posted August 16, 2008
Don’t make impressions based on album covers because they don’t always tell the whole truth. This writer, did though, make the mistake of taking a look at Brooke Barrettsmith and assuming Bethany Dillon had come back with black hair (though the electric guitar should have been the tip off). But in reality acoustic ballads don’t greet listeners, but rather a attack of blaring guitars and aggressive vocals which are closer to Flyleaf than Dillon in Brooke Barrettsmith’s self titled debut.

Coming from a family that are no strangers to music Barrettsmith hit her first bit of success with his single “farewell”, a song where the refrain is a barrage of her talented emotional voice and persistent pop rock chorus which is very similar to Flyleaf and Inhabited among other pears. “Right now” has a younger energetic pop tune than real rock, unfortunately while her tune is nice her overall originality is low. There isn’t much about “quite streets” that is soft, as the music is very fast paced and loud in this impressive rock song, but a change of pace is needed because her routine changes little (except a little in the bridge).

“Quite my heart” is a light pop ballad which is impressive because her vocals are strong, especially at the chorus. However Barrettsmith time isn’t used much into making emotional ballads as rock songs like “anymore” a heavy pop rock tune where her aggressive vocals again shine and an interesting tune change in the bridge. The album overall has a melancholy feel hanging over most of the songs particularly “OK” where the piano in the background paints a sad picture in the rock song, and while the science of the music in “breakthrough” is encouraging the beginning is dreary. The odd track out is “paper tigers” a song which seems to be a piano ballad but the music becomes closer to alternative rock.

The music may be a bit on the generic side, but the lyrics are a little different as Barrettsmith throws out today’s problems in a more original light. “Paper tigers” cautions about how storms and troubles are not the end and there is hope, and along those same lines the depressing “right now” ends with ‘I won't let 'em keep me down… You've given me a second chance’. “Farewell” centers around salvation but the chorus heavily leans on self forgiveness, however “quite streets” is very direct about spreading the gospel. Songs like “Father” and “more real” are very straight forward, but when Barrettsmith gets off the beaten path to discuss a rough relationship, things a little vague (“anymore”).

Brooke Barrettsmith’s debut can jam pretty hard sometimes, as her music is pretty impressive and her voice is very nice, her lyrics are similar to her peers but her handling of issues is used better than some. While talking about the routine of her family in music Barrettsmith says “It's in my blood”, it’s too bad that her routine in music couldn’t have been a little more original and that is the whole truth.

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Nothing New ... | Posted August 06, 2008
Unfortunately I'm going to have to agree with the majority. Nothing really jumps out at you by the fourth song you are ready to just turn it off. It all sounds the same and the lyrics are sophomoric. She does have a great voice ... I only wish she had great songs.

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Brooke debut is a jem | Posted August 10, 2008
I was impressed with the very first song I heard, while at Alive Fest 2008. Her vocals, music and devotion to our Lord Jesus is evident in her life, and also in her lyrics. She can energize the crowd with her fantastic power vocals, which creates awesome christian rock songs! She loves her fans, and will talk to each and everyone she meets. I personally will try to make a show whenever she is close far so good. I have seen two, within the last 2 months. God Bless and Good luck on your debut cd. Take care - Gary

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AMAZING!!! | Posted December 12, 2008
This is one of the best CDs of 2008, in my opinion. Brooke had such an amazing voice and her lyrics can speak to so many people. She talks about real life issues in her songs. "More Real," the second song on the album, is a way of saying that God is more real than anything you may be going through. "Farewell" is one about saying farewell to all of the mistakes you've made and giving them up to God and not letting them keep you in bondage anymore. "Breakthrough" is an awesome song that could really be made into a prayer by anyone who just can't feel God or has kinda drifted away from Him. A way to just let Him know that you still need Him and that you still love Him and that you just need Him to breakthrough and let you know that He's still there. "OK" is an excellent song that speaks the truth that as long as you have God in your life, everything will be ok. It's a song that really spoke to me and really helped me to see that that really is true. I recommend this album to anyone who is considering getting it. You really should get it. It's one that can help you through any tough times you may be facing or that may come your way. I can, personally, never listen to this CD only once. I always end up putting it on repeat and I never get tired of it. :) Brooke just may end up being the next big thing. :)

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Pretty Good.. | Posted December 01, 2008
This cd didn't really have any intense breakthrough tracks that really impressed me. I enjoy it a lot but, as most people have been saying, it's similar to a lot of the music that is out there already. The messages on the songs are great! I deffinately enjoyed listening to this cd. I think Brooke has a great future ahead of her in music! She just needs some time to find her "groove". :)

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[[= | Posted November 11, 2008
Getting to work with Brooke in the town of Bakersfield on the Million Voices Tour was amazing. I was kinda worried that the crowd wouldn't like her, but they proved me wrong. Brooke sang her whole album and the fans were amazed. It was cool just to see her having fun and doing what she does for God. I love this album. My favorite song is 'Father.' But yeah, way to go Brooke!!

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Liked enough to recommend... | Posted September 17, 2008
I liked this album enough to recommend to most people I know. Although I feel most songs have the samed "sound", I do love her lyrics. I believe it probably resonates with the audience that would listen to her. I am also going to assume that she is still young enough that more can come in the years ahead that will be better and better. She does have a great voice! My favorite songs at this point are "Quiet My Heart" and "Ok". I hope we hear more from her, but she will have to change it up a bit.

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