It’s no surprise to anyone who reads my reviews on Country Exclusive that I love traditional country music. If an artist currently makes authentic country with lots of steel—and said artist has a voice I appreciate—I’m a pretty easy sell. If you feel the same way as I do about music that fits these requirements, you need to check out Laura Benitez and the Heartache.
When you press play on the first song on this album, you know what you’re in for right away. There’s well-done instrumentation with lots of steel guitar, some nice and mostly upbeat rhythms, and even the occasional accordion. I was immediately interested in what kind of work Laura Benitez would create.
If the instrumentation is what caught my interest first, it was the lyrics that made me stay. The thing about this album is, there are a few songs where one line tells the whole story. “Ghost Ship” uses the line “I don’t know where you are” to help tell the tale of someone who has lost a loved one in a fire, and cannot locate that person afterword. “In Red” uses the lyrics “I should have married you in red” to act as a well-done omen. Upon a couple’s marriage, the new bride spills wine on her dress and jokingly says “I should have married you in red”. By the end of the song, the marriage isn’t going well at all, and she kills her husband. Then, there are songs that take words and twist them around. “The Fool I Am Right Now” is a honky tonk song about a woman who has been the fool who has maxed out her credit cards. She’s been the fool who didn’t take care of her car. However, she’d rather be the fool she is right now, which is a fool in love. “Why Does it Matter” details a woman saying it doesn’t matter if her man doesn’t love her, she’ll still do the same things she always does. It doesn’t matter to her if he has any feelings for her anymore. “But if it doesn’t matter,” she sings, “why does it matter so much?”
The rest of the songs are just as good. The first song, “Something Better Than a Broken Heart” revolves around a woman who thought she’d get something better than a broken heart. Her dreams of a home and love were all proven wrong when her partner left her. One of my favorites is the next track, “Easier Things to Do”. She sings about how it would be easier to not play music and to not love the man she loves, but she still does. “Our Remember Whens” is an awesome honky tonk song about a woman who’s just met someone. She’s excited for them to get to all of their memories. She looks forward to looking back into the past with her partner, sharing jokes and good times together.
“Whiskey Makes Me Love You” is an upbeat song, but it essentially says that alcohol makes her love the person she’s with, even though she already loves them a lot. “Almost The Right One(Casi Mi Cielo” is a sad song about a woman who thought she found the perfect man for her, the one she’d be with forever. As it turned out, he was almost the right one, painfully ending things when it could easily have turned into forever. “Secrets” details a couple where both the man and woman are cheating on their spouse. They justify it with “secrets are better than lies”. “Nora Went Down the Mountain” details the story of a woman who had been happily married, until one day when she just left home with no warning. This song is probably the most forgettable on the whole album, in my opinion. That’s saying a lot, though, since I like it well enough.
In case you couldn’t tell, I really liked this album. Laura Benitez brings a nice flair to this music with her voice, and the fact that she’s a Spanish speaker. I love the inclusion of the accordion, all of the steel guitar, and the cleverness of the lyrics. All in all, this is one of my new favorite discoveries of 2018 so far!