Gabby Barrett, “Chapter & Verse,” – Album Review

It’s always evident to listeners that Gabby Barrett’s music intertwines with faith. In most of her songs, there’s a clear glimpse into the religious side of her life that is blended carefully with family ties and the childhood innocence of her younger years. Barrett has mastered making a song for everyone, whether it be the mistakes you make along the road of life or the love of your life sitting in a church pew next to you. 

Gabby Barrett’s second studio album is another deep dive into the Pennsylvanian’s family life and spiritual journeyThe album features 13 songs and a doxology that takes you through an event roller coaster. It’s not hard to pinpoint what this album is about; there are several songs about her relationship with her husband, Cade Foehner. In “Cowboy Back” and “You’re My Texas,” you get a clear image of who Cade is: he wears Carhartts, says “Yes ma’am,” and is generally a real man. The two aforementioned tracks, in particular, are nothing groundbreaking, but they’re quintessential love songs that could find extensive reach based on the premise. “Cowboy Back,” in particular, has a very catchy rhythm and draws a lot of its instrumental influence from early 2000s country, which helps it stick out amongst the pack. Even so, these songs are a little boring and feel forced. 

The album opens up with “The Chapter,” a lovely song that takes you through a few phases of Barrett’s life, and how each one is just a “chapter.” It’s a very soothing song, and Barrett’s vocals, as always, are fantastic. The song has a large squad of all-star wordsmiths, with Barrett, Hillary Lindsay, Jon Nite, and Ross Copperman putting together one of the album’s highlights. 

One of the most significant disappointments of the album is “Dance Like No One’s Watching,” written by Luke Combs, James McNair, and Emily Weisband; it’s excellent in every aspect, except for the vocals, which is strange for a Gabby Barrett track. It tells the story of a father talking to his daughter, telling her to be independent and carefree. For such a great premise with a soulful instrumental piece and Luke Combs’s accompanying vocals, it sounds like Barrett toned herself down to match up with the deeper Combs. But when Combs’s vocals aren’t around, Barrett takes the front stage and rips this song, which sounds fantastic; in an extremely rare twist, this song probably would’ve been better without Luke’s vocals. That said, it’s a tremendous father-daughter song that’ll stand the test of time and will likely emerge as one of the more memorable cuts of this album. 

Overall, this entire album is good; songs like “Glory Days” and “Growin’ Up Raising You” are fantastic tracks with radio potential. You have songs like “Hard to Read” and “Jesus On A Train,” which are soothing and catchy, but even with so many commendable songs, there still seems to be a missing piece. This album is missing that “it” factor that pulls the record together to separate it from the rest of mainstream country music. “Dance Like No One’s Watching” could be that song, but it doesn’t feel like it right now. This album does a solid job putting Barrett’s life all out on the shelf but doesn’t stand tall as a full body of work. You just wish that there was more in the way of cool instrumental moments and fun wordplay to put this album over the top. All-in-all, this album is so close to being a career album for Barrett, and it’s certainly worth checking out. There is a lot of good but not enough great. 

7.1

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