Here at the Send Me Your Ears studio today, we’ve been listening to the latest single from Kate Ellis. We previously reviewed this Louisiana-born, UK-based artist with her song, The Story You’ve Been Told: a highly appealing country Americana track which reminded us of Eleanor McAvoy, so we were excited to see Kate reach the top of the reviews pile again today with her new song, Other Side Of The Street.

Of the song, Kate says, “Other Side Of The Street was written by Tom Hackwood, a musician friend who used to be the drummer in a rock band with Kate’s long-time collaborator Andy Hobsbawm. We loved the tune and although Tom wrote it as an introspective, indie ballad, we thought it would work really well as an upbeat country pop song. I’ve always enjoyed the
way Abba combined jubilant and catchy melodies with lyrics about heartbreak and loss, and I like how our treatment of this song tries to do the same thing.”

A quick snare fill leads you into this bouncy and positive country folk song which instantly grabs your attention and puts a huge smile on your face.

Other Side Of The Street is an upbeat song which has all the elements needed for a great radio hit. It has a catchy chorus and you can feel this is something you’d have on in the car on full blast on a road trip – or perhaps in your ears as you’re out for a walk. There’s something very motivating about the song which makes you want to get up and move.

Kate’s vocals are the centrepiece of this song and demonstrate her abilities extremely well. It is clear that Ellis is a highly skilled vocalist, and we were impressed by the variation she uses to create just the right sounds. Her low harmonies on the line, “Walking away now” demonstrate a strong and powerful chest voice, while her lead line effortlessly displayed some tricks which could have come straight from Dolly Parton or Stevie’s Nicks’ vocal toolboxes!

The backing vocals are layered and beautifully stereo. We love the tremolo picking on mandolin and the incidental slide guitar fills which give the song just a slight extra touch of country.

The rise and fall within the track is well conceived and the chord progression keeps the song interesting, lifting it a cut above a standard 3-chord country song. We love the unexpected ending.

Ideas from our ears

A small boost around 140Hz would fill out the low end nicely. A couple of small cuts around 250Hz and 400Hz would reduce some slightly ‘muddy’ and ‘boxy’ tones in the vocal track too. A boost centred around 4kHz would increase the presence and definition and a boost in the top octave for some extra brightness. Another great way to achieve extra brightness whilst keeping the top end under control is to use a single band compressor on the top 2 octaves with some make-up gain. Finally, a light compressor/limiter with around 3-4dB of make up gain would add to the warmth in the track as well as raising the volume to match similar releases. As always, these are just some ideas from our ears.

Final thoughts

Kate Ellis sits firmly on our radar of impressive country/folk/pop artists to watch. Her music is bright and hopeful, her writing is creative and considered and her voice is to die for. Great stuff!