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National Rock Review

28 May 2018

In recent months Sonia Leigh has been winning over a whole raft of new fans (or her Fam ‘O’ Leigh as she affectionately puts it) during an extensive UK tour. Throughout this time Leigh has showcased her talents in the capital during Country Music Week, as well as hitting the road with the likes of Broken Witt Rebels, Joanne Shaw Taylor and British country star Katy Hurt and The Healers. The latter of which also backed Sonia throughout the tour.

Mad Hatter traverses a vast musical landscape; each track, in turn, takes the album in a different direction to a certain extent. The beauty of this is that it grabs the listener’s attention pretty quickly, whilst at the same time maintaining their interest. With Mad Hatter there are no fillers, you don’t find yourself skipping songs, but rather each track is strong enough to stand on its own. 

With Leigh’s latest offering she has really bared her soul with some truly sincere and personal songwriting. This is particularly the case during the synth-infused title track itself, which is a deeply emotive and heartfelt love song. The same can be said for the traditional country ballad “Shelter”, which also features some beautiful pedal steel playing.

Mad Hatter opens with a pair of incredibly infectious country-rock songs in the shape of “Waste The Day” and “Sky Submarine”. These up-tempo numbers are real earworms, with their catchy hooks and huge choruses they stay with you for days.

On the other hand, Leigh’s recent single “Walking In The Moonlight” would just as easily sit side by side with current pop acts like Imagine Dragons. The song has a huge mainstream appeal.

Leigh demonstrates her rockier side with the thunderous, gritty, lo-fi number “NYC”. Again, the emphatic “Jack Is Back” comes with a contemporary southern rock sound and a bit of a Tennessee twist. But for the country music fans, it doesn’t get much better than “Dead Man’s Sunrise”.

The multi-faceted Leigh grapples with hip-hop as well as showcasing her lyrical prowess during the motivational, beat-heavy “Mind On The Prize”. We all know that the music business is a difficult game, particularly in this day and age. However, with this track, as Sonia repeats the chorus it feels like “Mind On The Prize” has definitely become her mantra.

Although Leigh has been more traditionally known as a country artist, with Mad Hatter there is a clear message that she is not looking to be typecast in one particular genre, or put inside of a box so to speak.

With Sonia Leigh’s genre-defying long player she has really pushed her creative boundaries and by doing so delivered what will be inevitably one of the standout albums of 2018. Mad Hatter is a record which will be appreciated by both country fans and music lovers alike.

 

Read the full review here

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