Country music isn’t known for its concept albums. There have been a few over the years but listing them takes a few minutes of thought. On her debut EP Finding Home, Leah Watts shares her memories from a passionate relationship. The 5-track EP follows the evolution of her emotions from burgeoning love to finding resolve in the aftermath of a breakup, adding a new offering to that concept album list.
Normally, I try to avoid reviewing tracks in the same order as the album. However, Finding Home is all about progression—both musical and emotional. Album opener, “Dancing in the Moonlight,” watches new love develop and is the most joyous track on the album. It’s also the only song that flirts with “commercial country,” with a sound akin to Sunny Sweeney or Kelsea Ballerini, but thankfully eschewing the modern country music tropes associated with the genre. On the second track, “A Million Tiny Little Things,” Watts hits full stride as she unleashes a pure piano-led love ballad and shows off her impressive vocal range. With a John Legend-meets-Tammy Wynette quality (never thought I would type those words), the song features an intensifying string section that accents the building fire of love in the lyrics.
However, the fervor fades quickly as the album transitions to “Poison in My Heart,” a country rocker that blends electric and acoustic sounds. As the relationship—and the album—come to an end, we see a distinct change in the sound and feel of the final two tracks. The genre defying “Numb” features a true pop meets country rock music quality reminiscent of the crossover sounds from artists like Clare Dunn and Danielle Bradberry. “Numb” has a big sound, full of electric guitar and a thunderous drumbeat that set the stage perfectly for album closer, “Enough.” With an air of resolve, Watts moves on emotionally from the breakup. Once again evoking memories of Bradberry’s brand of rock-pop-country, the song features plenty of electric guitar and an anthemic chorus. However, on “Enough,” the vocals are in the forefront, allowing them to be the real star of the track. Matching the lyrical explosion of internal strength, Watts once again shows off her vocal range that helps her close the album with a powerful emotional punch.
Even if the album were not a concept album, it would still have a feeling of completeness. It uses its five tracks well to explore a range of country music influences, showcasing the artist’s flexibility in the genre. On her debut EP Finding Home, Leah Watts gives us memorable moments throughout, especially on “A Million Tiny Little Things,” “Numb,” and the standout “Enough,” and leaves us anticipating what’s in her musical future.