'American Idol' Alum Brooke White Radiates Bold California Charm With Country Record 'Calico' (Review)

First capturing the hearts of music lovers as a top five finalist a little more than a decade ago on American Idol, singer and songwriter, Brooke White is back in full force with new music blending her signature ’70s golden era vibes with a cool, swift California spin to the country genre for her fifth studio album, Calico. Released Friday on all digital sellers and platforms, White extends a warm invite to country music fans with her latest record, which very smoothly raises the bar within the genre’s evolving direction thanks to a glowing magnetic spark that glistens in every song.

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(Photo: Harmony Gerber/Getty Images)

Produced by June Baby Records under Nevada Music Inc., the 12-track collection of lush and lively anthems evoking the stylings of Carole King to Fleetwood Mac and Joni Mitchell, touches on all aspects of life, love, our personal worth and everything in between as White blends a warm country twang with the hearty comfort of pure folk pop sounds that capture the wild west spirit of California.

Kicking off the record with the title track, “Calico,” White’s first single off the record embodies every stomping groove and sunny lyric of a fun, country ditty, punctuated by handclaps and a banjo solo. It’s in this track we see White coming to life as a “California Country” queen with her crisp vocals and the ultimate direction of her exciting life story, unfolding in every song.

“Honey” is exactly that with her soft, buttery vocals wrapping ears with an exceptional warmth that takes flight a few verses later and soars into what feels like an Americana-type road trip track, epitomizing a strong, windy breeze encompassing all it takes to run wild and be free. “Boots” is both catchy and distinctive, playing on the country sound with defiant instrumentation and vocals, while raising the bar with infectious beats and excellent production about feeling “alive.”

Conjuring windswept summers and sunsets, “Pioneer” is a gorgeous, fresh storied track that feels true to White’s musical persona of leaving “monsters under the bed,” and chasing your fears with sharp guitar plucks and claps accentuated by gentle, raspy vocals that show incredible range. “Into the Trees” follows and is another summery heart-driven love story perfectly juxtaposed between authentic sounds and modern production. While White admitted exclusively to PopCulture.com it’s been a minute since she first felt that “young love feeling,” she reveals it’s one you never forget and the song embodies a “moment frozen in time.”

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(Photo: June Baby Records / Nevada Music Inc.)

“Weigh Me Down” might be one of the more personal tracks written by White, who has admitted to fans via social media she has lived with anxiety for years. Detailing instances that have weighed her down over the years, the track is complete with ‘80s synth vibes and highlighted by smooth country vibrations a la Maren Morris or Sheryl Crow. In what is one of her more cheekier tracks that beams of White’s personality, “Back Pocket” is a catchy love song that injects the perfect amount of old-school country with its slick, sliding and bending guitar riffs.

White’s eighth track, “The Night We Met” is charismatic and tender, showcasing her vulnerability and vocals with delicacy and sentimentalism in a song about kismet and knowing when you’ve met the one. With instruments that compliment her tone, the two create a deeper element to the song, blending both sound and aesthetic. Following in the vein of her debut, High Hopes & Heartbreak after American Idol, “Disco Moon” is an almost sultry track that brings out the listener’s inner “yee-haw” with a subtle blend of mysticism and amatory allure that is underlined by her inviting vocals.

“Be Good” is by far one of White’s best tracks on the record, delivering an honest and uplifting message set against her molasses-smooth delivery that sets the mood and provides listeners with a sincere song that leaves a lump in your throat. “YOU” is a chirpy song tinted with colorful hues of country twists and twangs that invokes memories of past country songs and is a fun, sweet track listeners will want to sing-along to.

The last gift on her record, “Movies” is a tender, quirky and emotional love song beaming of optimism and evoking nostalgia that feels like a throwback track with its arrangement complimented by genuine and rich vocals — and it’s one that not only stands out on her album, but is the perfect way to end off the record.

With the perfect amount of country blended into her everlasting California admiration, Calico is an impressive album that outlines bold, stylistic departures outside White’s niche, offering something for everyone. The 36-year-old consistently delivers a fresh, heartfelt sound with a lovable twang that rises over layers of pop and indie folk for an ambitious, adventurous and loving record. In that grand versatility, White adds her voice to a growing list of women in the country genre who are working hard to transcend the boundaries of their Nashville roots with flavors from just about every generation.

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Calico is now available to purchase on iTunes, Amazon and Brooke White’s official website. For more information, follow Brooke on social media at Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Photo credit: Harmony Gerber/Getty Images