Tanner Usrey: ‘Crossing Lines’ – Album Review

Tanner Usrey releases his brand new album, Crossing Lines, out now, November 17th on all streaming platforms. Listen to the brand new project here.

With a soulful voice and confessional lyrical style, country newcomer Tanner Usrey is sure to make a splash with his debut album, Crossing Lines. Out now, the singer-songwriter’s Atlantic Records debut combines country, southern rock, Americana, and hints of soul with an uncanny vulnerability to reveal an artist on the ride.

For the Texas native, songwriting is his key to success. “I let the songs be what they’re going to be, and I pride myself on that,” he reveals in a statement. “Musically, it ranges from southern rock to country to Americana. When it comes to songwriting, I want to focus on what’s real – I don’t shy away from saying the hard things.”   

The album truly takes listeners on a journey, dealing with Usrey’s demons, self-acceptance, Texas upbringing, and love stories. “I hope you hear what you want to hear, enjoy it, resonate with it, and know it’s real,” he shares. “It’s been a wild ride. I’ve busted my ass. I started off doing all of this on my own, so it’s crazy to see how this and the team around me have grown. People are going after real music right now, and that’s great. I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes next.”

The album opens with the swampy and stompy “Echo in the Holler,” full of banjos, bugs, howls and harmonicas. It’s reminiscent of Marc Broussard’s “Home,” and immediately sets the stage for the LP. It’s a one two-punch between “Echo” and the album’s second track, “Guns Drugs and Allergy Pills,” which finds him longing to “make it back to Texas before I go insane.” It’s a rousing uptempo with driving guitars and twinkling pianos that make it a full on rockabilly country jam that is sure to electrify live audiences.

Crossing Lines also includes two versions of Usrey’s breakout track, “Beautiful Lies,” with a new version reimagined as a duet with Ella Langley. On the stunning ballad, the pair trade verses about a relationship that has reached its end, but they’re still holding on. “So talk to me, tell me what I need to hear // Wrap me up with your beautiful lies // And I know you’re leavin’, yeah, you’re standing at that door // And I can see the heartbreak in your eyes // So keep on telling me those beautiful lies.”

The sparse “Make You Weep” and the bittersweet “Last Goodbye” with Gracie York are both powerful and heart wrenching moments, with the latter finding the pair knowing they shouldn’t be together, determined to end things, no matter how much it hurts. On the barebones ballad, they trade verses about spending one last night together before saying goodbye, singing “Let’s make the best of our last goodbye.”

“Take Me Home Tonight” is a single-ready midtempo, finding him “way too damn drunk to drive,” as he muses over how his relationship started and where it is currently. “Got a baby on the way and a dog in the yard // We started out small but we sure came far //Yeah I just wanna be where you are.”

Usrey deals with his own demons on tracks like “Down Here at the Bottom,” “Pick Up Your Phone,” “Who I Am,” and “Crossing Lines.” Each of the tracks address his struggles with alcohol, as he muses, “Down here at the bottom ain’t as bad as it seems” and confesses “I woke up on the floor again, sweating poison from my veins, I don’t know what I’ve become, but I know that it’s something that I hate.” On the title track, he finds himself an imposter in his own life, the cheerful music a stark contrast to the lyrics. “I’m getting tired of making excuses // While my mother keeps on praying to Jesus // That I make a change from my wicked ways // But I keep on doing all the same damn things.”

One thing Usrey does incredibly well is tint his music with various genres. For example, the biting “Black Widow” offers another stomping hint of rock and soul, as Usrey proclaims “I ain’t in your web no more, baby I ain’t your fool.” Meanwhile, “Destiny” hints at a Gospel revival, featuring female background vocals for a show stopping moment. “Give It Some Time” has notes of anthemic 90’s alternative, sounding akin to some of the best acts from that period as it builds to an emotionally charged guitar solo that’s as scorching as his delivery.

With an incredibly powerful voice that can be best likened to powerhouses like Chris Stapleton, Nate Smith or Larry Fleet, Tanner Usrey was bound to be a star. Pair that voice with incredible songwriting, unique stylistic choices and unparalleled musicianship, and Crossing Lines is an absolutely stellar debut album. 

Crossing Lines Tracklist:

  1. Echo In The Holler
  2. Guns Drugs & Allergy Pills
  3. Take Me Home
  4. Pick Up Your Phone
  5. Crossing Lines
  6. Who I Am
  7. Give It Some Time
  8. Beautiful Lies (feat. Ella Langley)
  9. Last Goodbye
  10. Black Widow
  11. Make You Weep
  12. Destiny
  13. Evelyn’s Eyes (feat. Jessi England)
  14. Down Here At The Bottom
  15. Beautiful Lies

Country Swag Picks:

  1. Beautiful Lies
  2. Take Me Home
  3. Give It Some Time
  4. Who I Am
  5. Last Goodbye

Tanner Usrey’s debut album, ‘Crossing Lines,’ out now on all streaming platforms.

Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news about future Tanner Usrey releases.

For tour dates and more, visit the singer-songwriter’s website here.

To keep up with Tanner Usrey, follow him on InstagramTwitter, and TikTok.

Crossing Lines is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.