Tanya Gallagher: One Hand On My Heart – EP Review

Florida singer/songwriter Tanya Gallagher releases new EP One Hand On My Heart focusing on melodic and country-laden tracks full of heartache and beauty.

They say heartbreak brings out the best in songwriters, and it’s none so more apparent than in Tanya Gallagher’s new EP One Hand On My Heart. The artist manages to mix soulful sounds, folk influences and deep honesty together in an interesting way that’s effortlessly wrapped in a country-tinged bow. What makes the EP stand out is the fluency in which Tanya is able to switch her singing styles but still allow the tracks to breathe and keep to a signature sound.

Dark Side opens the EP as Tanya tests her songwriting in a slow-burning track that is led off by fast-paced vocals that mix words and rhythms with an ease that others would struggle with. Its haunting melodies are accompanied by lyrics of moving forwards and finding that next step, even if it’s still difficult: ”With my head full of vigour and my mind on the trigger waiting to become a winner time to start a new beginning”. A banjo line creeps up to the forefront intermittently where it’s accompanied by the organ to really offer up a strong and well-written opener.

Tanya Gallagher - One Hand On My Heart

A Little Effort takes more of a 70s country sound, relying on the drumbeat to push the track forwards amongst floaty vocals and a pleasant atmosphere. The chorus really brings everything together in a wholesome way with Tanya’s vocals once again taking centre stage with their no-nonsense attitude and brutal honesty. Barren Land is probably one of the most personal tracks on the record as it discusses a spiritual falling-out that accompanied a breakup that’s hinted to through much of the EP. The heartbreak is apparent from the very beginning with more of a deeper and emotional tone to the vocals as the artist sings: “We’re surviving but we don’t know how, this ain’t living it’s just laying down, but I’ll be damned if this tears me”.

The second half of the EP carries on with more of the country/folk vibe but against a much more contemporary sound. Mistake relies on drums to create atmosphere as the track saunters forwards amongst a tense edge and slow, creeping vocals, whereas Dolphin In The Snow feels a little lighter, but still menacing and with plenty of hooks and strong melodies to keep the listener interested. The EP finishes with the endearing and beautiful Magic; a soulful ballad number that won’t be rushed and really shows off another range in the artist’s vocals, giving a sincerity and dexterity that hasn’t yet been heard.

One Hand On My Heart is a wonderful EP that shows off the singer’s ability at bringing the most out of simple melodies and structures, which is then wrapped up in heartache and how to get through to the other side. With a mix of folk, country, soul and pop, the tracks each have their own unique quality with Tanya leaving a little bit of herself in each. From the fast-paced lyrics of Dark Side to the beauty and boldness of Magic, the EP allows the singer to vent her feelings amongst clever lyrics, country rhythms and strong choruses. Tanya should be pleased with what’s been achieved here as it shows real maturity in songwriting and composition.

Score: 4.5/5

By Jamie Parmenter

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