Seattle-raised Brooke Ludwick spent time as a creative director and artist in the advertising field before recently returning to her first love, songwriting and performing. With her talents and understanding of the music business, she has created some well-crafted, thoughtful, and very listenable tunes (she shares composing credits with several other songwriters).

This album fits snugly into the genre of the contemporary country sound, blending familiar lyrical motifs with the Nashville/soft rock mix that currently predominates in this market (the iTunes store placed Ludwick in the company of Carrie Underwood, Emmylou Harris, Taylor Swift, and Jewel).

There are some very nice grooves to be had here, the kind one can perhaps appreciate most when out on the open road, most notably, When the Circus Leaves Town and Won’t Back Down. Brooke’s crisp, clear voice leads the way with the backing of solid musical performances by the instrumentalists.

Many of the lyrics concern themselves with cheating hearts and love lost, tough roads traveled… and opportunity found: “life’s like a merry-go-round, sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down….” These are all very approachable tunes but I found a few of the selections a bit prepackaged for my taste. Tracks such as If It Rains and New Word for Over would seem destined for radio play rotation. Quite happily, the album features a good mix of themes, tempos, and instrumentation to keep the listener thoroughly involved.

A final, and unexpected, surprise was Put Another Log on the Fire which ends the set on the advance copy but is not mentioned in the liner notes. This upbeat tune features some great honky-tonkin’ and guitar/dobro pickin’ that may remind one of early Dixie Chicks. The overdubbed sounds of a bar atmosphere add to the excitement of this boot-stomping closer.

I found Brooke’s album really grew on me. After listening to it several times, it now fits like a familiar glove—ust the way good country should.

Brooke Ludwick ’97
Brooke Ludwick
Nashville, TN