Genre: Modern Country, Pop, Americana, Rocking-blues Folk

Sounds Like: Melissa Etheridge, Alanis Morissette and Shawn Colvin.

The Good: Songwriting, Diversity, Consistency

The Bad: Trim up the songs, CD title

The Ugly: Nothing to report

The Band: 3 out of 5

The Music: 4 out of 5

The Songs: 4 out of 5

The Vibe: 4 out of 5

The Production: 3 out of 5

The Verdict: 3.5 out of 5





The Review Austin Belle (Stacey Mckitrick and Jesse Wainwright) a true blue beautiful musical duo from the Pacific Northwest (Vancouver, CAN) that must be further exposed. On "Just Drive” EP she comes completely alive as a singer songwriter and lets it all hang out with ten masterfully crafted tracks with multi-instrumentalist Jesse Wainwright by her side . The disc features quite a large ensemble of players and instruments altogether, and they all back her voice with perfection. This EP forges ahead with a strong sense of togetherness that tops it all off.


All these songs are all compelling, there is not one filler track amongst them, as they all stand on their own feet. There is a real honest folk vibe to this (generally) Americana sound, but it also rings of the current PDX hipster seen, being from the general NW area. This is a good thing, a reflection of the overall sound and vibe of the area in which there is nothing wrong with, as it is a vibrant scene with a lot of very folk/Americana artists popping up over the last decade. Tracks like the opener, "Just Drive” instantly captivate the listener and don't let go, with the humor of "Point of no Return” before taking things up a notch emotionally with the breathtaking “Back Here We Belong.” This is an EP album that not only hits you instantly, it grows as it goes with undeniable excellence. Along with folk and even some rock influence, I'm reminded of the pop artists like Melissa Etheridge, Alanis Morissette and Shawn Colvin. Not enough can be said about this sound, as I've been listening for days now, so it comes highly recommended with this opportunity to review such sweet title from a sweet artist. Top marks from beginning to end.


Having only heard all 5 tracks through laptop speakers before today, it was about time I gave it the royal treatment and play it through my SC-208s. There’s no denying that this is a top level production as the mix sounds superlative on high end speakers. I can really feel the passion on tracks like “Back to Where you Belong.” I deem the vocals from Wainwright worthy of a mention, after listening”3 Sided Story”  through a few times it really started to come forth and slap me in the face sonically. I think it’s because Mckitrick has set such a high bar with her own performances. The first few notes of vocals from Wainwright sound “sonic” and caught my ear - providing an awesome punch to his vocal line, an ambient break if you will. 


The Bad: The band needs to trim off 10% from most pieces. I don't get the name of the album and how it relates to the songs.


The Ugly: Nothing to report.


The Bottom Line: To tie things up, I’d have to say “Just Drive” by Austin Belle (Stacey Mckitrick and Jesse Wainwright) has pulled together their tightest piece of material to date. It’s diverse, different, yet still holds the foundations that define them and people love, and is sure to make an excellent addition.  


Josef Leon edited by Markus Druery

Indieshark Music Critic





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