Sultry, soulful and strong touches of rocking rhythm and blues, riddled with a heavy down beat of bass. If that sounds cliche, I don't care. That is how I am going to describe the debut album "Til the Casket Drops" from artist ZZ Ward.
I feel like ZZ Ward could have easily dropped by Williamsport, done a small acoustic show and appealed to not only a crowd who loves the groove of a little hip-hop, but also to a crowd who loves the blues.
I fell in love with ZZ Ward's strong raspy vocals when I first heard "Put the Gun Down" on satellite radio. The music was so full of well-blended sounds and her vocals were so different and almost unique for today.
I could easily hear this being played live, each instrument making its own independent sound but blending together with such a rhythm that I fell in love with it.
I was anxious to hear more.
I got the whole album, I ... love ... it.
If the first three tracks, title track "Til the Casket Drops," "Put the Gun Down" and "Blue Eyes Blind" don't draw you in, just push stop now.
"Blue Eyes Blind" is by far the best of the three. The chorus is catchy, the music is soulful, yet it has an aspect of hip-hop, which gives it a kind of new-blended sound.
"Home" has easily became one of the addictive songs of the album for me. I love the way it's written and love the music even more.
"Last Love Song" is a slower acoustic ballad. I tend to just skip ballads, but this one I can actually stand to listen to. Her methods that she puts into her writing and the meaning behind the voice makes the ballads worth listening to.
By far my favorite is "Move Like U Stole It." It will surely catch that part of your brain's attention that makes you kind of rock your body right to the rhythm. ZZ Ward shows her range of vocals, from a high note in the chorus to that raspy hold on words as she belts out the words.
Sometimes I find myself hitting repeat just to hear it one more time.
I am reminded of a strong blues message being told by ZZ on "Lil Darlin" featuring The O'Mys. You can feel the soul behind her voice. Don't believe me? Go to zzward.com and watch the live version. Amazing. She may be even be better live.
TV watchers may have heard her music on promos for "Pretty Little Liars" and in MTV's "Awkward."
I am telling you people, jump off that Adele train, her reign is over. Tip that fedora to the side and bask in the sultry sounds of ZZ Ward.
DOWNLOAD NOW: "Til the Casket Drops."