FIRST LISTEN: Danielle Bradbery’s Debut Single “The Heart Of Dixie” (AUDIO)

Here’s your first listen to Season 4 The Voice winner Danielle Bradbery’s “The Heart Of Dixie.” The midtempo country/pop tune, written by Brett James (who produced the track), Caitlyn Smith, and Troy Verges tells the story of a woman who doesn’t know her strength until she finally leaves her absent drunk of a husband. For background on the songwriters plus video clips of Danielle in studio recording the song, check out this post.

“The Heart Of Dixie” was sent to country radio this afternoon, and will go for adds on country radio on 7/22. Prior to that, the song will go on sale next Tuesday, 7/16, and Danielle will debut it live on the Today show on 7/17.


Click HERE to pre-order Danielle Bradbery’s “The Heart Of Dixie.”

Good song, sweet melody, good singer. This is the kind of country/pop that you would hear a lot from female acts in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the kind that has somewhat of a rootsy feel and doesn’t leave the country out of the equation. But was having a 16 year old whose only major weakness is an underdeveloped storytelling ability rush-record a song about an adult woman leaving behind an inadequate spouse really the right choice for her debut single?

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Deb G

Also known as Windmills, I cover country music news and live televised country events, in addition to recapping ABC's 'Nashville.' Additionally, I occasionally do long-form chart analysis that has been cited by Entertainment Weekly, Pitchfork, The Guardian, The New Republic, NPR, and more.
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  • weareallinnocent

    My reaction was the same as the question you end with, only not in question form. Ridiculous subject matter for Danielle to sing about. That’s unfortunate.

  • Liteasy

    Why in the world are they having her sing a song for a grown woman about twice her age???

  • Eileen99

    I really, really like the song and Danielle has a fantastic voice.

    I agree there’s a disconnect between Danielle’s age & the subject matter of the song. On the other hand, Danielle has a very mature-sounding voice; listeners who don’t watch The Voice would probably be shocked to hear this & find out she’s 16. If I didn’t already know she was 16 and heard this on my car radio, I’d love it and not wonder to myself how old the singer is.

  • dd999

    Love the song and Danielle’s beautiful voice, but why? why? do they stick her with a song that’s about a women who is way older than 16 for heavens sake! I hope if they make a video she’s the daughter in it. I didn’t expect TPTB would give her a song for a much more mature woman. Anyway, I think the song is really good, and Danielle sounds awesome singing it!!

  • carola99

    I love the melody and she sings it well. But you may be right, the subject of the song is so not her. This is not gonna come across as believable from a 16 year old.
    Still I am sure she will sell well. She always do. At least in the beginning. But will her career take off like Carrie with this song? I have my doubts..

    Honestly she should sing songs with early Taylor Swift themes, something that fits her age better. JMHO.

  • SM

    It may have just been the best song available…because it really is a very good song just listening to it. There may be disconnect live but if they can get this on the radio…

  • thedeviledadvocate

    Thanks Windmills, you guys are great.

    Love this song.

    As far as age appropriate, my granddaughter made the mistake of marrying very young, (17), two years later she was working at mickeyd’s supporting her drunk hubby. She left him and has since divorced him. This song could be about her, and she is only 3 years older than Danielle who will be 17 in a couple weeks.

  • girlygirl

    This doesn’t sound very country pop to me. The song itself is solid and Danielle sounds good.

  • higuys

    Her voice is very mature and this type of song suits her vocals perfectly. Can’t wait for her debut album!

  • xGMANx

    She isn’t Dixie. She is sing a song about Dixie. She is storytelling. That’s what she excells at. Let her sing great songs and not put her in a box.

    This song is very catchy and has “hit” written all over it. Her tone is amazing along with her velvety smooth pitch. A very catchy chorus.

  • Wfish88

    I havnt really liked any of THE VOICE’s contestants post-music (exept “Come Along”). But I actually really liked this song! Reminds me of the Dixie Chicks, & I appreciate they didn’t go all pop on this single unlike Cassaddee. That being said, THE VOICE has had such a VERSATILE winners – 2 R&B & 2 country singers…

  • BobbyKe

    I’m glad she’s getting a song like this. She’s not being limited song choice wise. I have no interest in her being limited just because she’s 16. It’s a weak mindset. The complaints about age appropriateness are undeserved

    And it’s a story song. She’s talking about someone else. She’s talking about an older woman & she’s got an outside perspective of the story. The song isn’t too mature anyway. It’s more of an inspirational song about improving someone’s life

    She sound GREAT on it & I believe it’ll get great support. The chorus is very memorable. It’s comparable to a lot of songs in the 80’s & early 90’s. Country needs more songs like that nowadays. Very good debut song for her

  • dd999

    I only heard a snippet of the song before, and I honestly thought she was singing the part of a daughter,leaving a broken home, so it was a bit of a shock that she’s singing the part of a wife in the song?

  • thedeviledadvocate

    I agree, and I second that on not being able to wait for her debut album. The first time I hear Blue on the radio, I was shocked to find out Leann Rimes was 13 at the time. People who don’t watch the Voice will be shocked that Danielle is only 16.

  • thedeviledadvocate

    She isn’t Dixie, she is singing a song about Dixie.

  • windmills

    I never let radio determine what defines art, because radio is run by people interested in $$ moreso than music. There’s plenty of country/pop with no chance of pop radio play. On the flip side, Carrie’s only real crossover hit is Before He Cheats, which is stone cold country and not pop at all.

    Musically, this is where Carrie’s Jesus Take The Wheel, Wasted, and So
    Small land – midtempo country/pop. None of those songs is traditional
    country, and neither is Danielle’s single.

  • bestmusic

    I am not a country fan but I like the song. I hope she does well.

  • Tinawina

    I like it. I don’t know anything about country radio but this is a good song. Her voice sounds great. The subject matter is a little odd for a teen but not so much that it pulls you out of the song IMO. Hope it does well for her.

  • SaSa8

    Her voice is good but I don’t really sense much emotion behind her vocals. I attribute that to the material being too old for her or its a story she can’t really relate too.

  • maria4hitz

    She’s just telling a story, the story of another person, not hers. I don’t see the problem. I really liked the song and I think it could be a hit for her. She sounds great.

  • Jason Gorny

    This is going to be a flop. Sure she has a nice voice, but the song is ridiculous for her age.

  • windmills

    Just to clarify since I’m seeing a lot of “Danielle’s just telling a story” comments – I know she’s just telling a story. My point is that as a 16 year old who has a naturally bright vocal tone and whose only major issue during The Voice was being able to tell stories, it’s arguable whether her record label made the right decision to give her a song with this story line.

    It’d be one thing if Danielle had a natural country cry to her voice, but she doesn’t – her voice is naturally sunny. There’s nothing in her voice or phrasing that is able to convey what Dixie is going through during the verses. Danielle does fine with the upbeat chorus. But she sounds way too upbeat singing about Dixie’s absent drunk husband. Part of the problem is that this was a rush-recording and she didn’t have time to really live with the song. Five years down the road, she’ll probably be able to tell the story much more believably than she does now.

    Danielle’s best sellers from her Voice season were Born To Fly, Who I Am, and Maybe It Was Memphis. The Heart Of Dixie is maybe musically not that far off from Born To Fly, but storyline-wise, it’s like Carrie’s Wasted, and that wasn’t one of Danielle’s best sellers for a reason – she wasn’t able to tell the stories in that song well either.

    So I think Danielle would’ve been much better served if Republic Nashville had been able to find her a single like these songs from Lauren Alaina’s debut album:

    Growing Her Wings

    Eighteen Inches

    (I’m not including Dirt Road Prayer and The Locket, which were 2 of the best songs from Lauren’s debut album, because they were ballads and not likely picks for a debut single)

  • maria4hitz

    I don’t think they had many options to choose from in the first place. Who knows, maybe the melody and her voice will sell the song.

  • Mark Cannaday

    This song has HIT written all over it. As for the age disconnect comments….I’m not feeling it. She does not sound like a kid singing so she shouldn’t be limited to a kids song. Good Job Danielle!

  • Frederick

    Who cares how old she is, the song is still WAY good, catchy and a HIT! It will be a big single for her, I think.

  • dd999

    I agree with much of what you said. Danielle has a youthful, sunny, disposition and a song even like ‘Heads Carolina, Tails California or ‘Maybe It Was Memphis’ and ‘Please Remember Me’ and ‘Grandpa’ were so right for her. Where’s Blake?? lol. Nevertheless, I love her voice and this song will likely do well, I hope, and like others have said, if many haven’t watched The Voice, they’ll love the song and be surprised to find out she’s only 16.

  • Listening

    Umm it’s a nice song and a nice girl with a nice voice but uh….I don’t feel a thing. It’s like Danielle is just reading words off a paper. It’s just surface level she’s not feeling it. I need more depth in her words.

    But w/ all that said I think she has the best chance of getting success out of the show b/c her voice is so strong and w/ the right song you can over look a lot of things. And it’s possible that w/ other songs on her album she’ll have a better connection w/ them. I know on the voice there were songs where she had stronger emotional expression/connection than others.

    Good Luck to her

  • BobbyKe

    There’s no evidence that storytelling is a weakness for her

    And people are focusing WAY too much on her age when it doesn’t matter
    When listening to the song, will most people think “She’s 16”, no they won’t

    She sings it brilliantly & the chorus is memorable & will sell the song

  • thedeviledadvocate

    When this song plays on mainstream country radio stations, the majority of the listeners will not be Voice viewers. They will hear Danielle sing with no preconceived notions as to her age, sunny disposition, beautiful smile, or how age appropriate the song is. They will just hear how beautiful her voice is. I don’t think they will know or care that she is 16. well 17 by the time it gets to radio.

    I think she is doing a very good job of storytelling. It doesn’t matter if I think she is or isn’t connecting with the song, what is important to me is that she tells the story well enough that I connect to the song, and for me she succeeded in doing just that. I love this song.

  • alan___b

    I like it, reminds me of the Dixie Chicks Could be a big first hit for her.

  • SM

    I kind of get everyone’s point, but the other risk is they give her something like…”Boyfriend” (Raelynn) and then she might not be taken seriously at all. Lauren’s and Scotty’s debuts were pretty good and age-appropriate. Then again, I think this one may the best overall song…and best suited for radio (potential). Cool country sound. So I guess it’s a give/take thing.

  • Amy Beth

    I understand the song was a pre-fab job. But it would have been better if they had asked the songwriters to rework it so that it was sung from the perspective of Dixie’s daughter reflecting on her mother’s life.

  • maymay

    It is a good song and a good singing but Danielle doesn`t have the connection and emotion with this song. A sunny teen girl tells a sad mature woman story? Danielle can be a storyteller but she needs tell a story she can feel.

    Anyway since Danielle has a lot buzz, her debut single could do well on country radio. If people don`t care about the age thing , she will sell well. There are many factors for a single becoming a hit.

  • 50Watts

    Why grow up fast these days and this could be a child taking about her mom..

  • LoneStranger

    Amazing! Who cares about the subject matter. Danielle is telling a story through the song.

  • LoneStranger

    Danielle is telling a story.

  • LoneStranger

    Amazing comment. I agree, let’s not put Danielle in a box. She excels at songs telling a story or event.

  • LoneStranger

    Exactly, great analogy! Leann Rimes was a wee age of 13. Look at Carly Rose or Jackie Evancho.

  • LoneStranger

    “She had a dead end job at the national bank / And a deadbeat husband who always drank / So when he didn’t come home he had the gin to thank / For the tears in her eyes / So Dixie packed up and said her goodbyes,”

    Bradbery sings to open the song. It’s possible she witnessed such a heart-wrenching scenario during her life, but Dixie’s pain never really takes on personal meaning, partly because the lyrics lack soft detail.

    It will be interesting on her expressions when she sings it on the Tody Show. I like it. Heck she is starting out.
    Here’s the full review and comments from taste of country.

  • US Citizen

    So what people are saying is she would sing this better if she had been married to a drunk who left her and maybe beat her up too. Ridiculous comments. Singers have been singing songs they have no relatable emotional experience to like forever. Personally how does one “feel” depth in a song, that sounds like mumbo jumbo. Like her voice or don’t , like the song or don’t. I happen to enjoy it and I am a fan of DB . I would rather listen to this, than “I am going to steal your boyfreind” or some of Taylor Swifts “pop” songs aimed at 12 year olds.

  • dd999

    Your right, I worded that wrong, the song is really not about her, its about a woman named Dixie. Danielle, on the Voice and her personality in general, exudes youthful optimism about life, and that’s what I was hoping to hear in her song, ‘youthful optimism’ or at least a song that she personally can relate to. like she did with Heads Carolina, Tails California or Grandpa?

  • leilamaurizia

    I agree with Windmills. I do wonder if Danielle’s people at Big Machine took sufficient time and effort to work WITH Danielle and her strengths. From this choice of debut, they just went with Blake’s strategy on The Voice of giving Danielle 90’s female country-pop songs with substance and saying “Hey, look everyone! She’s 16 but she can sell it!”

    Storytelling isn’t about the age of the storyteller. It’s about being able to transport the listener to the story within the song and making him/her feel what the characters feel. Comparing Danielle to LeAnn Rimes at 13 singing Blue is an unfair comparison. As much as I’m turned off by her personal life choices, I consider LeAnn one of the best interpretive singers in country music. She’s just madly talented that way even at 13.
    Country music, especially by females, is so special for me because of the storytelling and the effectiveness of the storytellers. Think Sara Evans with A Little Bit Stronger, you can hear her relationship experiences. Martina McBride with something as light as Blessed, you can hear how blessed she feels. Even Carrie with the criticisms of her stage presence on Idol, always had that special interpretive gift even on her debut. Listen to The Night Before (Life Goes On) and you’ll be transported to the roof beside the young lovers about to part ways.
    Danielle, right now, still has to develop her storytelling ability. That’s not a knock on her. She’s shown vocal talent, composure, discipline, hard work and the willingness to listen to advice– she can go far under the right circumstances. I don’t think “The Heart of Dixie” is the right way to start. As windmills has said, she has a sunny voice and a sunny personality. I’m listening to the song and I can imagine her smiling, which shouldn’t be the case. It might have been better if she had sat down with writers and just poured her feelings out. Maybe that’s what they’re doing for the rest of the album. I felt “Who I Am” was her best performance on The Voice. She really connected with that one. A similarly-themed debut might have been better.

  • Jordana33

    It’s not a bad song, even though not particularly age-appropriate, and her vocals are good. I’m assuming that Danielle will perform this song the way she performed all the other songs on the Voice and her fans will support her, regardless of her lack of connection with the topic. The big question will be whether it’s enough to pick up new fans.

  • thedeviledadvocate

    Well, aside from the first four lines in the song, the rest of the song could easily be Danielle’s new life. She probably packed up to do her radio tour, probably shed a few tears. She is flying at hyperspeed in her new career and nobody’s gonna find her, and she will probably leave school behind her (and finish online). She used to be shy, but she didn’t know til she hit the road (to the Voice) that deep in her soul she had the fire and fight of a gypsy, and aint nothing stronger than the heart of Danielle (nerves of steel on the Voice). Funny thing when your world falls down (her old life will soon be a distant memory), it’s got a way of showing you what you are all about. She’s got her wheels headed south, and she aint never going back (superstardom in her future), nobody knew she was brave like that (from the national anthem in the bathroom in high school to Leno). Yeah she woke up to the truth one day (mommy made her try out for the Voice), so she grabbed her cheap sunglasses and her lipstick case, and now she’s recorded this soon to be a hit song about herself except for the first four lines. :)

  • chili1000

    Great song and a great singer. I don’t buy the “age appropriate” baloney for one minute. Danielle is nearly 17 and is plenty old enough to understand (and perhaps even personally witness or experience) destructive relationships. When I hear this song I don’t visualize Danielle as the daughter singing about her mother leaving everything and everyone (including her – how sad would that be!) behind. I visualize her singing about a sister, a cousin or a friend who realizes that she has a lifetime of dreams ahead of her and has made a bold and inspirational choice to take control of her life – kind of like Danielle has done at the ripe old age of 17. I think that many teenagers and young adults will be able to relate to this song.

  • dd999

    A lot of what you said, I agree with. I think they need to go with the attributes of the singer. For example, the 1st time Danielle sang, Maybe It Was Memphis she was dressed like a young teen and smiled throughout the song, the 2nd time she was dressed in a much older dress and didn’t smile, almost as if someone said no you have to be more serious..such a shame because for her age the 1st time was so much better. IMO. There are so many songs out there today that are about heartache and misery. One attribute of young Danielle is her beautiful smile and one can’t help but smile along with her, when she sings. I love her voice and all the songs she sang on the Voice. I hope the rest of her songs on her album will be ones she can personally relate to.

  • dd999

    Lol!! Problem solved. I love your analogy.Ha! Ha! I’ll never look at the song the same way again!! Her beautiful voice is enough to make this a successful radio song!

  • thedeviledadvocate

    The second song was the battle with Caroline Glaser, and yes, Danielle knew she was in for a battle. Put Your Records On was definitely in Caroline’s wheelhouse. Danielle had the only intense stare I saw throughout the competition during that battle. I saw that and said, this girl is (sorry for the RJ quote) in it to win it. Both girls did a great job on that song, but I’m super happy that Blake chose Danielle.

    I think Danielle can and does relate to her new song, but I think if she had done a happy, sappy or silly song ala Taylor Swift, the comments would be, we don’t need another TS, why did she sing a teenybopper song. I’m real happy with the song choice, and I initially wanted her to do a fun song first. Hopefully her label knows more about these things than we do, and have started her off in the right direction.

    You are 100% correct about her smile, I think if the lights went out in Vegas, Danielle could smile and nobody would notice the lights went out.

  • thedeviledadvocate

    To those who can’t hear Danielle the storyteller telling a story in this song, Ya’ll need to listen closer. :)

  • dd999

    Taylor Swift and her songs, are a whole different ball game IMO. I think Blake did an excellent job in selecting songs for Danielle, and if the songs she sings continues along that path, I think the sky’s the limit for her!

  • lollamape

    LMAO!!! You’re seriously really funny person.. I remember last time i responded to your post when i spited out my tea at work because of your genius lyric for Danielle new single xD Good one :))))

  • LoneStranger
  • Maj

    she was not my fave on the show, I’m not a country music fan but this song is memorable right from the first listen. it reminds me a bit of the few Carrie songs I know. well done, I think! I wish Danielle good luck with this song!

  • wayne strong

    sounds alot like jessica andrews. I like it, the chorus sounds cute.

  • Jordana33

    Honestly, I don’t think this song is targeting teenagers. It’s targeting her fans from the Voice, most of whom are much older. These are the people who will support her at the start of her career, so the music has to appeal to them. .

  • vdawg

    The problem with having a teenager sing country songs is most of the subject matter is for people who have lived life a little bit. I do not like Taylor Swift but her first album was very teen friendly. You would think since this is Taylor’s label they would have had something much younger for Danielle to record.

  • SteelWauhterz

    I’m reminded of a discussion that Harry Connick had with Amber Holcomb about knowing and understanding the lyrics of a song. I’ve always felt Danielle was a good, young singer,but her lack of life experiences was evidenced every time she was asked to sing this type of song. Where is the angst? This is not a song you sing by memorizing the words, or connecting the dots. That said, it is most definitely not age appropriate.

  • usedtobelucy

    To me, that was one of her weaknesses.

    All through the show, I kept thinking what a gorgeous voice she has and what a sweet, fresh positive persona — but what a limited ability to express the ins and outs, ups and downs, and complex emotions of a story….

    Now, I wouldn’t fault her much for that. It’s exactly what you’d expect of a very talented but professionally inexperienced 16-year-old.

    Nevertheless, I’d think that for her first outing, it would have been a much better choice to go with a song that truly exploited her strengths and left this one relative weakness on the table for a while until she gets herself up to speed with it — or if only until she has time to put out a song that she’s been singing for months so that she could have worked her way into deep and subtle storytelling. Even the best storytelling-singers might have trouble working up such an intense story in a quickie-turnaround-recording like this.

    That said, it’s a pretty good song. So I’ll hope for the best.

  • usedtobelucy

    Well, people keep saying that they probably didn’t have many song options. But isn’t Nashville famous for having tons of great writers hanging around writing and pitching stuff? And isn’t the industry focused on finding great radio material for the *young* stars they hope to promote? So why the heck aren’t they focusing a lot of effort on creating and licensing great songs for them? Or is the stuff about how many great songwriters Nashville has all hype? (I don’t think it is ….)

    Now, they may *not* have many songs to choose from. But, if they don’t, seems to me it has to be the record’s companies’ fault, *and* a very stupid fault to have, given that it can undercut their main aim — get some talented young singers on the radio.

  • usedtobelucy

    Yeah, that’s a good point.

    That puts her squarely in the middle of the reality-show-singer dilemma, though, of course. Radio doesn’t want to appeal to the old farts but the old farts are the fans of the singers coming off tv.

  • windmills

    Storytelling ability is definitely a subjective consideration. However, as I pointed out, people who watched The Voice responded better to Danielle when she sang songs where she showed a connection to the lyrics (Who I Am, Born To Fly, Maybe It Was Memphis) and not so much when she didn’t (Wasted). There’s concrete evidence for that in the sales numbers.

    It’s not so much Danielle’s age that’s a barrier for her, it’s her lack of experience in interpreting songs and the naturally bright tone of her voice. Somebody like Ashley Monroe was writing some incredible weepers when she was 16 or 17. She didn’t release them until this year as a 26 year old, but you can hear the sadness in her voice that would’ve conveyed the heartbreak of these lyrics even back then:

    She’s Driving Me Out Of Your Mind

    The Morning After

  • tati83

    Danielle sounds fantastic. I wish her the best with this song however I have to agree with those that say the subject matter doesn’t seem appropriate. I understand she is storytelling but why couldn’t she be storytelling about a subject matter that she could relate to? Say what you may about Taylor Swift but the reason her album Fearless was as successful as it was because she was singing songs like “Fifteen” about being fifteen and falling in love for first time and that is why so many girls feel in love with her, they related to her. And that is the target audience I think Danielle’s people should be aiming to gain, the teens. She has an incredible voice and is super likable. I think she can be very successful if giving the right material. This is just ONE song (and not a terrible one just not one I would have chosen for her) but I do have my fingers crossed that she will find success.

  • nncw

    She sounds good, certainly in her wheelhouse -sounds country to me. It seems the right age to me – this is when young girls start dating – why not think about choices to be made! Plus thought on The Voice how it was nice that both sets of (Danielle’s) parents were represented – this is not a society of Father Knows Best anymore; young people are well aware of how marriages can be beset by problems and modern solutions. Dixie is definitely a modern day woman in this country song.

  • windmills

    Yeah, I don’t for one second believe there weren’t a bunch of songs lying around that would’ve been better for Danielle. Mainstream country songwriting may be tilted these days towards beer/trucks/parties but people still write to land cuts on Carrie’s albums, and there are several new female acts like Jana Kramer who took outside cuts too. The label A&R just didn’t find the right song in a short timeframe, and that’s the fault of label A&R.

  • windmills

    It’s not that Danielle’s not old enough to understand destructive relationships. As I mentioned in another post, when you listen to the songs Ashley Monroe was writing at the ages of 16 and 17, it’s clearly not about age. It’s about having the ability to convey the weight of that understanding when you sing. Danielle sounds way too happy singing about a woman in a dead-end job and a bad relationship. That’s fine on the chorus, but there’s no sense of investment in Dixie based on what she’s gone through.

    This is more of a criticism of her record label for not nurturing Danielle’s strengths with her debut single than of Danielle herself, who will eventually grow into this song.

  • Lexie O’Neill

    I wasn’t going to respond, but then I thought, why not? It’s not as if my opinion affects anything (sorry, I’m grumpy right now and the main reason is what’s going on at country radio–Dierks?).

    Anyway, when I read the comments on the thread, I started asking myself–how many people here actually listen to country radio? If one doesn’t, then I really don’t understand how someone can put forth an opinion about whether a song is going to be a hit. I think Danielle’s voice is beautiful here, but in addition to the age issues, this doesn’t sound like what’s out on radio now. It just doesn’t.

    And radio is crazy hard right now.

  • BobbyKe

    I don’t know what you’re hearing, but I’m glad I’m hearing something different. She sounds very convincing to me & sells the song. Danielle doesn’t need nurturing. Danielle will have better songs, but this is a very good debut for her. You clearly think she doesn’t “sell” the song when I’d say she does

  • Eilonwy_has_an_emu

    Okay, I didn’t watch The Voice and don’t know much about Bradbery…

    Pretty voice. Very 1998 sound. And maaaaaan, her A&R team is envisioning her fans as divorced women who will relate so intensely to the empowerment story in the chorus that the vocal interpretation doesn’t have to develop Dixie as a convincing character in her own right.

    My problem here isn’t that Bradbery is “too young” but that the song says ordinary and familiar things about Dixie’s situation, in an ordinary and familiar way (both musically and lyrically), and an interpretation with more depth is the only thing that could have made it unique and striking. With female country artists having so much trouble getting airplay — and getting a second hit if they get a first one — that just seems like a weak and/or overconfident strategy.

    At the risk of sounding like Paula Abdul, though, Bradbery looks great on the record cover — fresh, pretty, and natural.

  • BobbyKe

    Radio doesn’t want to appeal to the older crowd? I’m quite sure more older people listen to country music then the younger crowd. This song appeals more to the general country audience

  • Eilonwy_has_an_emu

    I’m quite sure more older people listen to country music then the younger crowd.

    Do you have a source for that, or a reason why Arbitron’s data would be consistently wrong? Country has probably the broadest age appeal of any major radio genre, with a strong concentration of younger listeners. It’s admittedly not as youth-skewed as CHR, but it’s also not as age-skewed as AC or classic rock.

  • PhilCorb

    It’s not like age appropriate song would make a much better chance. Doesn’t mean to diss Lauren, just want to make an example of teenage newbie artist and her age appropriate singles=

    1. Like My Mother Does (aka Momma song) = failed on chart

    2. Georgia Peaches (aka Upbeat homestate song) = failed on chart

    3. Eighteen Inches (aka Storytelling type of song) = failed on chart

    4. B&B (aka Sassy upbeat song) = failed on chart (at least until now)

    Lauren’s label made an every direction of what kind of artist Lauren Alaina is with a different type of songs and still didn’t succeed. So IMO, you might release a promising songs but if radio doesn’t embrace and get on board from the very beginning, it’s game over. especially when you have a label mate from same show who actually do better in term of sales than you.

    I do think Danielle’s single is better song than Lauren’s LMMD, and she’s with a better label and would push this song if they really believe in her, but still i don’t want to predict the outcome. Maybe good or maybe not…

    Just my two cents

  • Tinawina

    You know, it just occurred to me that is is very Jesus Takes The Wheel is in feel… maybe they are using Carrie’s career as a template?

  • jpfan2

    I find the cover art corny and trite. Looks like an ad for a Hallmark special. I have no idea what works on country so good luck Danielle. I will say that it doesn’t seem any easier to become a big star in country than any other genre.

  • girlygirl

    Windmills posted something in the sales chart thread a few days agao about the demographics of country radio. I don’t remember what day it was posted, or I’d go back and try and find it. The crux was that country radio’s listeners are fairly evenly distributed through all the demos — it doesn’t skew way old or way young.

  • weareallinnocent

    Cute picture. But Danielle horseback riding in short shorts is just another thing that does not lend toward authenticity imo. lol

  • Jordana33

    I think certain artists like Taylor Swift have wide appeal, but she’s more the exception than the rule. I could be wrong, but usually when the sales of a song don’t match the level of online popularity (such as You tube views, etc.), it’s usually because it appeals more to older listeners.

    Young people have a much higher tendency to look up music on You tube and download songs without paying for them. This is why a lot of pop and rap songs have over 50 million views, but unlike country music, their sales (both national and worldwide) usually don’t match the level of online popularity. Maybe it’s because country music doesn’t have as much international appeal, but I think it’s more than that. It’s also not the kind of music that DJs play in clubs, unless it’s a country-western bar.

  • chloe18

    Danielle sounds great on this. Unfortunately I’m not a country fan so this isn’t really something I would listen to. I would love something that was more country pop – especially the lyrics. idk I’m thinking more along the line of Taylor Swift but that’s just my preference b/c I like pop music. Anyway I hope she does really well with this. She’s really talented and I would love to see her song take off.

  • Jordana33

    Another good point. I’m not a country fan, and usually when I like a country song or artist, it tends to be one that has crossover appeal, like Taylor Swift and certain Carrie Underwood songs. Therefore I have a really hard time predicting it’s success with the country crowd. One of my favorite country performances on the Voice was Tawnya’s cover of the the Pistol Annie’s song “Hello on Wheels” which Blake completely dissed. On the other hand, Danielle’s Grandpa song got some of the highest downloads and I thought it was a major snoozefest. I don’t think it’s as easy to make in the world of country that people think, but smart marketing will probably play a major role. It’s too bad this much effort wasn’t put into some of the former winners.

  • chloe18

    For me I think a lot of it’s about the lyrics as to whether it’s something I’ll like for country songs. Before he Cheats has such relateable lyrics. Same with a lot of Taylor Swift’s songs. I have no idea if need you now and not ready to make nice are considered pop country or country but those also stick out to me. Idk but what makes this song sound distinctly country to me is the re-telling of a sad story that isn’t happening to her if that makes sense. Also singing about the heart of dixie. I don’t think it’s a bad song at all just if you don’t listen to country it’s not as relateable as other songs

  • countrybob

    Great song, Danielle sings this really well. Sounds like a potential hit with country fans and non country fans too. Her voice has that country feel to it.

  • windmills

    I think that leaves out some important factors. Like My Mother Does and Georgia Peaches were 2 of the worst songs on Lauren’s album, and were mistakes as single choices. By the time Mercury Nashville finally made a good single choice (Eighteen Inches), Lauren was out of momentum, and UMG Nashville was no longer that committed to promoting her debut album after undergoing personnel shifts (the new leadership had nothing to do with the making of her debut album).

    If anything, Lauren’s 1st 2 single choices (and Scotty’s) show the importance of coming out of the gate with the right song at the right time. Republic Nashville missed an opportunity to do that with Danielle’s debut single. But you’re right that The Heart Of Dixie is at least a good song in its own right.

  • LeoCS

    I don’t know if this song will chart high, but I think she’ll have a good career despite the success of her first single.

  • thedeviledadvocate

    I don’t understand how it can already be determined Republic National missed an opportunity to come out of the gate with the right song for Danielle? Don’t we at least have to wait until we see some sales results? She just started her radio tour this morning.

    What determines if this was an opportunity lost? Isn’t it just people talking right now? Taste of Country gave it 3 stars, while Roughstock gave it 5 stars, which one is right? If the song sells less than 50,000 over the next 2 months, well then Taste of Country probably had it right, but if the song sells more than 250,000 in the next 2 months, doesn’t that give the nod more to Roughstock? What is considered a successful single nowadays in country music? Cassadee sold 340,000 copies of Over You, and over 150,000 copies of Wasting All These Tears. In terms of success, was Over You a huge success, and has WATT had a successful beginning?

  • gem2477

    It sounds like the Jo Dee Messina type of songs she sang on the show.

  • Ronnie D

    I looked at this thread just to see the album cover and Danielle “clutching her breast” lol

  • countrybob

    Danielle Bradbery, ‘The Heart of Dixie’ – Single Review by

    Danielle Bradbery just might be the breakout superstar that ‘The Voice’ desperately needs.

    Channeling such influences as The Dixie Chicks and Carrie Underwood, Danielle’s debut single “The Heart of Dixie” is a sweet, uplifting tale of a woman caught between a dead-end job and a dismisive alcoholic husband. She finally comes to her senses and leaves it all behind her. Sure, thematically, the subject matter might be a bit heavy for someone that is only 16 years old, but she plays the narrator so convincingly that I didn’t even notice the first 50 times I listened to the song. It officially hits all digital retailers on July 16.

    The song itself borrows heavily from Carrie’s “Jesus Take the Wheel” and “Wasted” records; it’s country-pop at its finest with very little shifted from the traditional side of things (although there is a presence throughout the track). As a mid-tempo offering, the song displays a rather hopeful message and taps into what Danielle does best. Her covers of Sara Evans’ “Born to Fly” and Pam Tillis’ “Maybe It Was Memphis” had similar go-to optimism and really showcased Danielle’s naturally sunny disposition (as pointed out by Mjsbigblog writer Windmills). Perhaps, that’s why I have no complaints with the young singer taking on such a “heavy” song. From a listener’s perspective, it’s more about the message of the upbeat chorus that becomes the focus and the takeaway of the tune.

    Co-written by Brett James (Carrie’s “Jesus Take the Wheel”), Caitlyn Smith, (Cassadee Pope’s “Wasting All These Tears” and Troy Verges (Hunter Hayes’ “Wanted”), Danielle is backed by some of the finest tunesmiths in Nashville. So, it isn’t any wonder that I’ve gravitated to the song. The songwriters have crafted quite a promising story (which I rather love, more so than the stereotypical man-bashing tune often delivered up on a silver platter). There are times that I wish they would have explored a bit more with the backstory instead of skimping over the general ideas. However, perhaps for the 16-year-old performer, it’s best not to delve too deep. Obviously, that’s not the point of the song.

    With a plethora of females vying for radio space (including the 18-year-old Lauren Alaina), I’m not totally convinced that this song will give Danielle her big breakthrough, but there’s plent to dig into in the over three-minute escape. What I admire with Big Machine is that they don’t immediately go for an age-appropriate song about young love or having fun or dirt road anthems (and the like). Instead, they shoot for a tender story-song that could potentially speak to a wide demographic. It showcases Danielle’s effortless vocals (which are quite authentic), and the song itself has a rather nostalgic quality. We have all been in situations where we have felt trapped (maybe not on the same level as an alcoholic relationship) but the central theme of overcoming adversity is something that every single country music fan can relate to. That’s rather smart for the first single. Also, Big Machine didn’t go straight to plucking the heartstrings with a trickly ballad, either, another smarth move. With Taylor Swift growing older and exploring pop these days, it’s about time Big Machine finds a younger, more “country” singer for it’s roster. Danielle also possesses a wholesome image that is relatable to every teen across America. Plus, she’s not intimidating to all the parents; they’ll want her to be BFFs with their daughters and date their sons. It’s a win-win for everyone.

    If this is what Danielle’s album will sound like, she will certainly have a long career in music.

    Overall Grade: A-

  • Darko_5

    For these reality show artist sales does not totally refleck the success of the song. Lauren’s LMMD has sold over 425k of which 121k was the first week and you can see what is being said about the song and its impact on her getting radio play. Like all before Danielles success or failure will be seen over the next few years. In the current frat boys country music phase we are in I find it highly improbable any female will break to the top like lets say the Flagline boys did. This will be about hard work and years of it.

  • Happyhexer

    Sorry, but this song does nothing for me. I like Danielle and think she is very talented, but I am not sure this is the right song (though I could be wrong about that). I’ll take your word, Windmills, that this a throwback to the late 90s, early 00s. But honestly, it sounds like the usual dreck I hear on country radio, with maybe a little bit of a countrier sound to it. There is just nothing distinctive about this song, musically, lyrically, or vocally.

  • W. Onker

    There’s a NEW GIRL GROUP out now called ‘THE SIRENS’ who work in the Greek market. I’m SURE you will be enthralled by THEIR songs if no one else amuses you.

  • Happyhexer

    *sigh* Those were two of my favorite songs. I seriously get goosebumps when I hear Lauren’s voice on LMMD. (I admit, I probably like her vocals more than the song itself.) My favorite overall though is “Tupelo.” Have no idea why, lol.

  • W. Onker

    When you tell a story, USUALLY it’s about somebody or something ELSE and not YOURSELF. There’s way too many trigger-finger critics looking to slam new young artists because they haven’t LIVED the stories they’re just SINGING about. That’s extraordinarily loopy degree of expectation.

  • W. Onker

    Admittedly, TAYLOR SWIFT is an EXCEPTION to the rule.

  • W. Onker

    Note: Due to their sensitivities, be sure to approach them BY BOAT.

  • Incipit

    OK. That’s Amusing.

  • taylor

    Good song, I like it! Danielle sounds amazing, as usual. Something about her voice and this song reminds me of early Carrie and that’s the Carrie music I bought and enjoyed. I’ll definitely be downloading this song and checking out her upcoming CD.

    Danielle has a chance with a great team behind her and a good song. Hope this song does well for her.

  • chili1000

    “Not having lived the story” is a rather lazy argument also, since there are so many examples to the contrary that have been successful.
    One of the abslolutey EASIEST thing to do is to predict failure in the music industry. You will almost always be right, but that doesn’t mean you have any particular insight.

  • chili1000

    This is exactly what I stated in a post somwhere above. This is not a sad, emotional song. It is empowering in a way that could appeal to a wide demographic. Danielle appraoches it the right way.
    The writers, who are very successful in their own right, obviously don’t have any reservations about her ability to interpret the song.

  • chillj

    Pleasant, unremarkable, but she has a very good voice. The lyrics are odd for a girl her age, but I’m guessing no one thought anyone would care – and they may be right.

  • chillj

    Wow! Excellent analysis..

  • chillj


  • Reflects On Life

    Pleasant voice with good range, nice instrumentation on the song (lots of country instruments, without sounding gratuitously applied), but boring song sung boringly. She doesn’t bring anything to the song, just great karaoke. Plus the melody sounds very dated – as windmills said, sounds like country-pop of 15-20 years ago. But best of luck to her – she’ll find her groove soon.

  • carola99

    I totally thought that! They want Danielle to have Carrie´s successful career sooo bad. Let´s see if it works for them..

  • Mark Cannaday

    …no investment in Dixie because SHE IS NOT DIXIE! She is telling Dixies’s story of triumph…and triumph over adversity is a happy thing. People smile when they hear a story like that…at least normal people do.

  • TheHeartofDixie

    Danielle Bradbery – The Heart Of Dixie Lyrics

    She had a dead end job at the national bank
    And a deadbeat husband who always drank
    So when he didn’t come home he had the gin to thank
    For the tears in her eyes
    So Dixie packed up and said her goodbyes

    And she went driving so far away nobody’s gonna find her
    Flyin’ just fast enough to leave it all behind her
    But she didn’t know ’til she hit the road, deep in her soul
    She’s got the fire and the fight of the gypsy
    Ain’t nothing stronger than the heart of Dixie
    The heart of Dixie

    It’s a funny thing when your world falls down
    It’s got a way of showing you what you’re all about
    Now Dixie’s got her wheels pointed south
    She ain’t never looking back
    And nobody knew she must leave like that

    And she went driving so far away nobody’s gonna find her
    Flyin’ just fast enough to leave it all behind her
    But she didn’t know ’til she hit the road, deep in her soul
    She’s got the fire and the fight of the gypsy
    Ain’t nothing stronger than the heart of Dixie
    The heart of Dixie

    Yeah Dixie woke up to the truth one day
    Grabbed her cheap sun glasses and a lipstick case

    And she went driving so far away nobody’s gonna find her
    Flyin’ just fast enough to leave it all behind her
    But she didn’t know ’til she hit the road, deep in her soul
    She’s got the fire and the fight of the gypsy
    Ain’t nothing stronger than the heart of Dixie
    The heart of Dixie

  • TravelinThru

    “And nobody knew she must leave like that”

    It’s actually —
    Nobody knew she was brave like that

  • Ann Stark

    This song would be suit Kasey Musgraves so much better . not beleivable at all.

  • Jackie Wachter

    I feel she did a good job on this song no matter the age it is the music we want to here no matter the age. People are so quick to judge. Let her have her moment. Great country voice. She will go far.