Following her 2015 album When a Heart Breaks, Bri Bagwell returns with In My Defense, 10 tracks showcasing her most thoughtful and authentic songwriting and vocal talents. “I have put everything I have, and every dollar to my name creating this record for myself and my fans. I truly believe it is the best record I have ever released, and the pressure I felt to create something great pushed me to the max. I embraced it…” Bagwell shares.
- Asphalt And Concrete
- If You Were A Cowboy
- As Soon As You
- Cheat On Me
- I Can’t Be Lonely
- Feel Like Home
- Ring A Bell
- No Time To Say Goodbye
- Empty Chairs
Whether the songs’ stories reflect feelings of pride or shame, Bagwell’s project is packed with both grit and grace. As she opens up and invites you to take a closer look, she confidently lets you know exactly who she is, what she wants, or how she feels in each track. “What you hear on this record is who I am today”, Bagwell shared with TMP.
Kicking off the record, the Las Cruces, NM native, now Austin, TX resident pricks us with a haunting hangover titled “Asphalt and Concrete” in which she sings of losing herself in the middle of Austin’s ever tempting sixth street. She concludes metaphorically “…you can’t plant a cactus in asphalt and concrete”. “I Can’t Be Lonely”, Bagwell’s latest release and a personal favorite of hers, is another fun twangy tune with a catchy chorus speaking truth to undeniable feelings of loneliness.
The lead single “If You Were a Cowboy”, which broke the Top 25 of the Texas Music Spotify Chart, dishes an anthem challenging authenticity with pure country roots and a pure country sound. This continues with the turn-it-up and roll-your-windows down track “As Soon as You” where Bagwell kindly says no thank you to the status quo and embraces being a free-spirit worthy of love.
The album’s tempo slows down and seamlessly transitions melodies of shameless pride to one of a shameful recollection, landing you to our *PICK* “Cheat on Me”. A track with regretful lyrics and an unapologetic sound, this co-write with singer-songwriter Courtney Patton will have you intrigued with its very first line, “I wish you would cheat on me…” as a plot twist of infidelity unveils. Bagwell’s edgy emotional vocals are the powerful driving force of the song’s vivid yet mysterious details.
“Graffiti” and “Ring A Bell” please the listening ear with clever similes and wordplay to the tune of classic country sounds. Bagwell first sings a story of a vandalizing heartbreak with lines including “…your leaving’s written all over me, it’s on display for everyone to see just like graffiti”. On the contrary, the tune “Ring A Bell”, written with Jody Booth, chimes with the guilty confession of a much less innocent accomplice.
For the final track, Bagwell concludes with the prayerful songwriter’s lament “Empty Chairs”. The touring musician strikes gold as she digs deep into her personal experience of the often conflicting, emotional rollercoaster she rides. Reflecting on what’s “behind three chords and the truth”, she acknowledges with a vulnerable tone, “I’ve been cursed and I’ve been blessed, by the answer to my prayers…”
“Since my last record came out, it’s been three years, over five hundred shows, tens of thousands of road miles, and the slow and careful building and re-building of this record you have in your hands. Like always, I hope you get whatever it is that you need from these songs. I sure did,” says Bagwell.
In My Defense is out tomorrow, September 21st and sure is one Bagwell can hang her Stetson on! Get your hands and ears on this album and then make plans for her release party in Stafford, TX.
Y’all enjoy an early listen of our *PICK* of the album “Cheat on Me”!
Editorial contributor for Texas Music Pickers and a whole-hearted collector of Texas/Red Dirt tunes and the stories behind them. You can also find me on the dance floor.