Review by Andy Hawes for MPM
Jaime Kyle first became noticed in the early 1990s at the tail-end of the AOR/Melodic Rock boom of the late 80s.
Her debut album The Passionate Kind from 1992 is an absolute monster album featuring the cream of the US session scene and has a wonderful Mid-West AOR vibe, with quite stunning songwriting.
In a time where hair bands were a dime a dozen, The Passionate Kind stood out by being just a little bit different, with less a formulaic approach to writing and by rights it should have sold by the bucketful. But grunge was on the horizon and artists like Jaime were no longer a priority.
Further albums were released Including 1995’s Back From Hollywood on UK AOR label Now & Then Records (after which she appeared live in UK on the label’s ‘Gods of AOR’ festival), The Best of My Heart, (a 1999 compilation album on Frontiers) and Untangled in 2019. Not only that, but Jaime has had songs recorded by Heart, Faith Hill, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Maddie & Tae amongst others.
Now, Jaime has released her new album, Wild One, and oh my goodness it’s a good one! Title track and opening number ‘Wild One’ is a re-recording of the song covered by Faith Hill (which was a huge hit on the US Country charts back in the early 90s.) I reviewed this track when released as a single a while back and it’s a rocking uptempo reimagining of the classic hit and I’d put good money on this version finally capturing the song as it was originally intended – a huge melodic, sing-along rock anthem propelled by chunky guitars and Jaime’s wonderful vocals. It’s a colossal opener and no mistake!
This is followed by the bouncy Blues-Rock of ‘Driving With The Brakes On’ featuring the very talented Kris Barras on quite incendiary lead guitars. Everything about this screams ‘quality’ with a perfect production driven by powerful guitars, an irresistible groove and those honey-sweet deliciously warm vocals. There is a delicious familiarity to this track, but this is in no way a criticism: rather it simply shows Jaime’s ability to create something new and exciting in a classic genre. Fabulous stuff!
The tempo drops ever so slightly for ‘Change’ where an infectious wah-wah guitar riff and delicate arpeggiated guitar chords lead into a quite stunning chorus. There are acres of space in the production of the verses which allows them to breathe beautifully before the layered harmony vocals of the chorus hammer the subtle hook home on a more up-to-date Pop-influenced track.
The acoustic guitars and gentle pianos come out for the beautiful ‘Blue Night’ which is simply gorgeous. Spacious, delicate, gentle, achingly melodic and lyrically stunning, this amazing ballads needs to be heard the world over. Jaime has a quite low-register voice which is not so common in female artists but it is just 100% perfect here – no histrionics, just wonderful melody and raw passionate emotion. Simply stunning stuff!
Following a track of such unbridled brilliance is nigh-on impossible, but ‘Perfect Love’ gives it a darned good go! With a ton of Blues and Nashville influence in the writing and production, this delightful mid-paced romp grooves its way to a glorious conclusion with the aid of a rather excellent guest male vocalist (who I sadly can’t identify from my review MP3 copy.)
‘Lie’ continues in high-quality fashion. It has a rather more familiar chord sequence and another very infectious chorus, all punctuated by some very tasty and bluesy leads guitars. Once again the production highlights all of the right things in all of the right places and at all of the right times and Jaime pushes her voice harder in this one too, with excellent results.
‘Kiss Dirt’ is up next and once again manages to combine a range of influences from Rock and Nashville Country into a delightful melting pot as twanging guitars, gentle banjo and rock power chords drive the track relentlessly onward while Jaime’s vocals leave the listener in no doubt about her feelings whatsoever as she spits the ‘I’d rather kiss dirt’ hookline to the skies.
The tempo drops again for ‘Not About Love’ which opens with some achingly beautiful guitar lines over gentle pianos, Jaime’s beautiful voice literally purring the lyrics as the track builds to another gorgeous chorus. There are even some slightly jazzy influences in some of the piano and guitar runs here, adding another dimension to a quite beautiful ballad.
‘Body of Gold’ opens with popping percussion and a filthy fuzzed-up guitar riff before opening up into a rocking piece of modern Pop. It’s quite different to what has gone before, but thanks to Jaime’s voice and the instrumental sounds, it still totally fits within the context of the album as a whole. This is one of the strengths of this album – it effortlessly combines influences and creates a body of work that sounds varied, yet cohesive and always high quality. Jaime’s many years’ experience of writing with many artists and writers has certainly contributed to the variety in sounds and it is absolutely to her credit that the album sounds so cohesive given the stylistic variations popping up everywhere.
‘Dirty Goodbye’ returns us to the big Classic Rock vibe of the opening tracks. It’s a monster track in the style of Jaime’s earlier material and totally rocks from start to finish before the acoustic guitar makes a welcome return in ‘Broken’. This starts off all ambient with tons of reverb drenching the vocal before opening up into a slightly trippy acoustic-led rocker. Again, it’s very different from what has gone before yet still fits perfectly.
The album closes with the choppy guitars, hand-claps and Pop-savvy melodies of ‘Happy Town’ which has hints of classic Sheryl Crow in its overall delivery. It’s a fabulously catchy and uptempo end to a quite wonderful album.
It’s no secret that I’m a Jaime Kyle fan. I loved The Passionate Kind and Back From Hollywood from the moment I heard them due to the Heartland Rock themes which set them apart from all the other AOR at the time. In addition, I always loved the warmth and powerful vulnerability to Jaime’s vocals.
All of those traits remain in abundance on Wild One which, as I’ve already indicated, effortlessly combines a plethora of influences into the album that you can’t help but feel is the one she has been wanting to make all her life: this is quite simply Jaime Kyle being 100% authentic, 100% real, making her music her way.
And I’m 100% in! Do yourself a favour and dive headfirst into the awesome Wild One then seek out her back catalogue for good measure.
There is a helluva lot to enjoy here for anyone who loves their Rock full of honesty, integrity, melody and quite stunningly good vocals.
Jaime Kyle’s album ‘Wild One’ can now be bought in USA/Canada directly from Jaime at jaimekyle.com. This will also include limited personally signed photo 7×5 inch photos.
UK, Europe and Rest Of World from https://www.firescapeofficial.com/pro…/jaime-kyle-wild-one