Hailey Whitters

Born and raised in Shueyville, Iowa, Hailey Whitters goes back to her roots in her sophomore album ‘Raised’. Released as a prequel to her 2020 debut ‘The Dream,’ Whitters returns to the heartland for her return to the country music scene.

‘Raised’ is a tribute to the midwestern way of life, specifically for a woman growing up amongst cornfields and small towns. After struggling in Nashville for a few years and releasing her debut album about her experiences there, ‘Raised’ focuses on her life before her big break.

“I wouldn’t be who or where I am today without the people and place that raised me,” Whitters said. “I hope when you hear this record, it takes you home.”

Reviewers and listeners alike have been giving the album rave reviews. Rock ‘N’ Load magazine gave it a perfect 10.

“The way that the music engages and keeps hold of you is a sign of real greatness, and this album needs to be heard by any fan of Country music,” rocknload.com said. “‘Raised’ is a triumph in every possible way.”

There is not a song to skip on this album's cohesive collection of 17 tracks. From the beginning instrumental, ‘Ad Astra Per Alas Porci,’ the listener is transported to golden fields of corn and barefoot summer nights with the cicadas singing.

Specificity is something Whitters has always incorporated into her songwriting style. In an interview with Wide Open Country, she stated that she believes her strengths are often viewed as weaknesses by those in Nashville.

“Sometimes you get feedback on songs within the industry, like, ‘Oh that’s a little too specific. It’s a little too niche. Nobody’s gonna know what you’re talking about,’” Whitters said. “To be honest, I think that sometimes the more specific it is, the more universal it becomes.”

Many are making the comparison to Kacey Musgraves’ early albums. With the same wit and relatability Whitters does for the midwestern woman that Musgraves did for the southern gals. Prominent country music critic, Grady Smith, was just one who took note of the comparison of other country greats.

“It’s pure country music, filled with countless mentions of the mundane details of life,” Smith said. “It’s got loads of fiddle, and it’s delivered with hopeful humor by Hailey Whitters. It takes me back to the 90s with Alan Jackson, or even kinda early Kacey too."

Whether she’s singing about ‘sharing sinks’ on ‘Big Family’, ‘settling a deal with a handshake’ on 'Our Grass is Legal' or being ‘left-right in the middle of America’ on ‘Middle of America’, everything culminates in the album's lyrical closer.

‘In A Field Somewhere’ is a collection of pivotal life moments that Whitters experienced in a field. Everything from learning to drive to getting engaged is included in this anthem about fleeting youth.

“It’s where I learned my lessons, it’s where I earned my stripes,” Whitters sings. “Got a full-ride education underneath them half-moon nights. With a buzz in my head and fireflies in the air, life is good in a field somewhere.”

‘Raised’ is a smash for those that listen to country radio and those that are more in tune with the indie sound. It’s a win for women in the genre and is definitely in the running for album of the year.

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