Reviews for “Too Close to the Border”
Since being launched in 2018, Broken Heart University has been a musical project inspired by the music of America– from country, to rock-n roll, to folk and blues. They’ve found fans around the world who are eager to hear more of that unique mix of American-centric genres that makes BHU special. Luckily for them, late last year BHU gave them what they wanted and released a brand-new album titled “Too Close to the Border”. Let’s take a look at what makes this album such a great addition to the band’s discography.
“Too Close to the Border” kicks off with “Banditos in Our Minds,” which pays homage to its title with a Western riff that starts us off and carries on throughout. Ashley Fayth is the soulful, folksy voice of this band, and she gives us a strong start with her swinging verses on this song. The chorus is unique and catchy, with Ashley’s layered vocals kicking it up a notch. We can clearly hear the songwriting of Tony Batty, the creator of all the band’s lyrics and concepts, with the unique melancholy Western feel of these words.
Next on the album, BHU brings us “Expecting Rain,” a song which has a unique clash of lyrics and music. Some lyrics include “I’ve got no expectations so I’m never disappointed” and “I don’t believe in happiness” and they continue on the theme of never expecting anything good to happen to the songwriter. This is an interesting juxtaposition to the upbeat keys, the blues-esque fiddle line, and the general upbeat tone. This contradiction is something that folk and blues tends to do very well– the lyrics could be talking about the most heart-wrenching topic you’ve ever heard of, and the song sounds like you could be dancing at a club in the country. It works well here, and brings us a bit of hope even with the downcast words.
Next up we’ve got a truly melancholy song with “Loveless by the Sea”. We love hearing the keys, played by Jack Beacall, take a larger role here, with a beautiful piano line complimenting Ashley Fayth’s voice nicely. “The Girl and the Town” takes us in a wistful direction, as we get some themes of coming home, and the love that comes for your hometown. This is our personal favorite song for Fayth’s vocals– her voice really shines with the sweeping verse lines that show off her range.
We have BHU’s title track of the album next, “Too Close to the Border”. This song is a great combination of all the unique elements we’ve heard from the band so far. We have Fayth’s beautiful vocals, the folksy guitar that’s rocked by Fayth and Chris Harvey, a beautiful piano line in the background, and of course the gorgeous songwriting by Tony Batty that makes everything created by this band so special. We are so excited to hear about BHU’s rise in popularity and creation of more beautiful albums. We look forward to following their career path and rise to even more fame in the years to come.
– Zoe Wynns, ROOTS USA
This is another new artist to me and an air of mystery surrounds this release. The album opens with ‘Banditos in our Minds’ and instantly the vocals have me gripped, strong with great diction. Sonically, the arrangement reminds me of something Marty Stuart might release – proper country. I love the use of fiddle in ‘Expecting Rain’ and the upbeat tempo of the track has you tapping along. We hear a new side to the band on the ballad ‘Loveless By The Sea’. There is space in the production for the lyrics to really land with the listener and these are descriptive enough to paint a picture in the listeners mind. There is a delicate nature to the vocals which works well with the strings and high notes on the piano. To summarise, I am so glad I’ve been introduced to this band, there songwriting is strong, the production is of high quality and it’s all delivered by a beautiful, raw vocal.
– Zoe Hodges, Editor, MAVERICK
Reviews for past albums
“This is well-written and arranged collection of songs and will appeal to fans of softer country americana.” BLUES MATTERS
“Hooks, fine melodies, and effortless grooves abound, and Fayth’s vocals, by turn sassy, soulful, and sultry, delivers the goods every time . . . it’s all done extremely well, indeed . . . a fine contribution to the higher echelons of country music.” MAVERICK
“Nancy J Kerplansky is as timeless a piece of country music as you could wish for and deserves to be a hit.” MAVERICK
“If the purpose of this album is not only to entertain a doubtless growing fanbase but to act as a sampler for eager radio programmers, there is plenty to snare willing ears and tracks of all formats and styles… Broken Heart University deserves tracking down and being heard by the massive audience who enjoy country blues, written, arranged and sung with consummate skill.” BLUES MATTERS