Connect with us

Album Review

Review of Pam Ross’ “When Therapy Fails” LP

Pam Ross’ debut album, “When Therapy Fails,” represents a vibrant foray into the music world with a compelling blend of rock, Americana, and country. This debut from the Fuquay Varina-based artist, affectionately enveloped in what has been termed “PamMusic,” strikes a resonant chord through its fusion of earnest lyricism and robust musicality.

The Sound

The album is framed by Pam’s dynamic vocal abilities that effortlessly transition from fiery rock anthems to tender country ballads. Her voice, characterized by its raw emotional depth, serves as the linchpin holding the varied styles together. The instrumentation across the album, particularly the guitar work, is robust and purposeful, complementing her storytelling prowess.


Track Highlights

  1. “Fire In the Hole” starts the album with a rousing energy that’s both infectious and reflective of Pam’s known stage presence. The track sets a high bar with its spirited guitar riffs and anthemic chorus.
  2. “Falling off the Merry Go Round” showcases Pam’s lyrical skills, weaving a poignant narrative about life’s unpredictability and the pain of letting go.
  3. The chart-topping single, “Better Than a Good Thing,” encapsulates the album’s theme of finding joy and resolution amidst personal turmoil. The song’s catchy hook and heartfelt lyrics undoubtedly contributed to its success.

Lyrics and Themes

The album’s title, “When Therapy Fails,” hints at the deeply introspective nature of its content. Each song serves as a vignette, exploring themes of resilience, personal struggle, and the redemptive power of music. The lyrics are both clever and impactful, with songs like “Cornflakes and Beer” using everyday imagery to discuss deeper emotional truths.

Overall Impression

“When Therapy Fails” is an accomplished debut that firmly establishes Pam Ross as a significant new voice in her genre fusion. The album not only navigates the complexities of personal adversity but does so with an infectious zest and genuine artistry. Its blend of genres, compelling lyrics, and Pam’s vocal prowess make for a memorable musical journey.


In conclusion, Pam Ross’ “When Therapy Fails” is a robust introduction to her artistic vision, filled with tracks that are likely to resonate with a broad audience while earning her a spot among the notable newcomers in the indie music scene.

Recommendations and Playlist

For those drawn to Pam Ross’ style and themes, I recommend checking out the album “Midwest Farmer’s Daughter” by Margo Price. It shares a similar authentic narrative style and musical blend.


Here’s a playlist themed around resilience and renewal, inspired by the vibe of Pam Ross’ “When Therapy Fails.” This collection blends rock, Americana, and country, featuring songs that echo themes of overcoming and personal growth.

“Resilience & Renewal” Playlist

  1. Margo Price – “Hands of Time”
  2. Brandi Carlile – “The Story”
  3. Jason Isbell – “Something to Love”
  4. Chris Stapleton – “Starting Over”
  5. Lucinda Williams – “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road”
  6. Patty Griffin – “Heavenly Day”
  7. Kacey Musgraves – “Rainbow”
  8. Sturgill Simpson – “Keep It Between the Lines”
  9. The Highwomen – “Redesigning Women”
  10. John Prine – “I Remember Everything”
  11. Miranda Lambert – “Bluebird”
  12. Ryan Adams – “Come Pick Me Up”
  13. Sheryl Crow – “Redemption Day”
  14. Gillian Welch – “Everything Is Free”
  15. Bob Dylan – “Not Dark Yet”
  16. The Avett Brothers – “No Hard Feelings”
  17. Willie Nelson – “Ride Me Back Home”
  18. Emmylou Harris – “The Road”
  19. Tom Petty – “I Forgive It All”
  20. Ray LaMontagne – “Such A Simple Thing”

These tracks not only reflect the journey through struggles and the pursuit of peace but also complement the rich musical textures and emotional depth found in “When Therapy Fails.” Enjoy the music and the messages woven throughout this carefully curated playlist!

–Jamie Jones


Album Review

Stephanie Bettman’s Latest Single “Beautiful Day”

You don’t have to be the biggest folk-rock fan around to appreciate the depth of emotionality in Stephanie Bettman’s new solo single “Beautiful Day,” as its plethora of melodies give us everything that listeners need to know in its running time. Like the other songs found in her growing discography, “Beautiful Day” sees Bettman experimenting with palatable pop sounds, blending influences from the folk spectrum whilst providing us with a familiar rhythm that doesn’t get flimsy by the second stanza. It’s among the more straightforward singles that I’ve heard in the last month, but if you’ve got an ear for toned songcraft, you’d be seriously pressed to find another track like this one.

The instrumentation is telling us a story all its own in “Beautiful Day,” and I think that, were it not presented in such high-definition clarity, this single probably wouldn’t be as engaging as it is in this form. Bettman is a very talented singer, but the soundscape that she uses as a sonic canvas to apply her acrylic vocal textures is quintessential to getting her point across here. There’s something to be said about the players that she’s gathered together for her backing band, and I hope that they continue to work together as she creates a full-length album with this song’s emotive template at the foundation of every composition. There’s a wholesomeness here you don’t find very often anymore, and I want to hear what it can produce with more creative breathing room.


I am more than curious about what Stephanie Bettman would sound like in a live setting after hearing “Beautiful Day.” She’s got a fetching and rather approachable charisma in this song, and in many ways employs her microphone as a gateway into the storied past of 70s singer/songwriters. Bettman channels a lot of Joni and Melanie here, but even though she’s wearing her influences on her sleeve, her stylish musical persona isn’t rooted in the throwback/retro culture that has gotten a little tiresome in the last few years. It’s one thing to be inspired, but unlike some of the artists making big mainstream gains this spring, this is one singer who isn’t looking to live her life in a time machine.

I haven’t been able to put this song down since I first picked it up, and once you give “Beautiful Day” the chance to sink its hooks into your chest, I think that you’ll share my sentiments. It’s an intoxicating meld of old and new, both retro and surprisingly modern where it matters the most, and even taking into consideration its nonconformist design, it’s still more accessible than the more commercial folk/pop that you might have come across this season. Stephanie Bettman’s career is picking up a healthy amount of steam at the moment, and if this song gets into steady rotation on the college radio airwaves this summer, it’s going to be a lot harder for her competitors in the American underground to keep up with her momentum heading into the latter half of 2024.


Gwen Waggoner 

Continue Reading

Album Review

“Once Upon a Time” by Universal Dice

I hope that Universal Dice’s new album release Misfit Memoirs reaches the largest possible audience. The first two singles from the release, “Curse” and the latest song, “Once Upon a Time”, offer evidence that the Gerry Dantone-led project has reached a new peak. “Once Upon a Time” continues developing the band’s songwriting wont for story-focused art that lacks pretentiousness or self-indulgence. The band’s work thus far is a reassuring reminder that ambitious rock works are still out there and deserve maximum exposure. His ability to realize such ambitions without ever descending into unnecessary pomp sets the band’s work even further away from the status quo. 

It isn’t an easy balance to maintain. Rock music, reaching back decades, is rife with examples of ham-fisted marriages between ambition and accessibility. Songwriters guilty of overreach have drug potentially great works down with overwrought tendencies. Gerry Dantone’s songwriting avoids such pitfalls. “Once Upon a Time” has an intimate climate. It gives individual listeners the impression that Universal Dice is performing for them alone. The development of the songwriting reinforces this. 


Dantone wisely employs a first-person point of view for the lyrics. It gives “Once Upon a Time” storytelling attributes that prod listeners to hang with every word. He sketches out the details with broad strokes focused on significant details rather than weighing down the writing with needless adornments. It is impossible to say for sure without knowing more, but the single comes across as if the words and music came together. I think Dantone began the process with a clear idea of what he wanted the song to say. 


It is a certainty that makes the listening experience such a pleasure. There’s surefooted confidence present in each second of this four-minute-long track. However, it isn’t ever strident, and the mid-tempo unfolding of the performance has a calm and considered demeanor. This prevailing mood drew me deeper into its storytelling web. It inspired faith in Dantone’s artistry from the start, and he never gave me a reason to reconsider. 

The lyrical brevity underlines the aforementioned certainty. Dantone doesn’t waste a single word in the writing of this track, and his word choices do not disappoint. “Once Upon a Time” pulls no punches. It fleshes out an unforgiving world that Dantone’s sensitive vocal tempers with its thoughtfulness. We experience the emotions present in the song’s words rather than consuming them on a strictly intellectual level. 


One of the hallmarks of Universal Dice’s work is the striking balance it maintains between the mental and physical. Dantone and his bandmates have made a name for themselves serving up stimulating musical landscapes capable of moving or entertaining their audience. The lyrical content and concepts are icing on an especially delectable cake. Intelligence and depth distinguish each new outing, and “Once Upon a Time” is no exception. It’s more evidence, if needed, that Universal Dice’s new album Misfit Memoirs will likely rank as their finest collection. We’re lucky to have such meaningful music in times like this, and I hope there’s more to come. 



Stacey Winter  


Continue Reading

Video Of The Week