Miranda Easten

Miranda Easten is a country singer and songwriter from Christchurch, New Zealand.

She discovered her singing ability through performing at the Christchurch School of Music and went on to study Contemporary Music & Performance at the Ara Institute of Canterbury Music Arts where she received the national certificate of contemporary music and performance, and went on to study at Sole Music Academy.

She gained musical experience while working with Greg Johnson and was the executive producer for his album ‘Swing the Lantern’ and collaborated with him on Stars & Dreams & Stay, both released in 2017. She was also one half of the duo The Manuka Set with Deep Obsession’s Vanessa Kelly.

In 2020 and 2021 she was a semi-finalist in the International Songwriting Competition ‘Unsigned Only’ (ISC).

Miranda’s debut single ‘Cowboy Lullaby’ reached 16 on the Official Top 40 Country Music Chart in Australia in April 2020. She also featured on the ‘Voices of Country’ compilation album released by Compass FM.

After becoming a solo artist in 2019, Miranda recorded her debut album ‘Behind Unbroken Strings’ at Roundhead Studios in Auckland with world renowned producer Greg Haver (Melanie C, Opshop, Kimbra)

In early 2021 she released ‘Country Boy’ which rose to number 25 on the Australian Chart. The music video has achieved success in America airing on the popular Country Music Network which reaches 40 million people. Nashville Country Television and networks CMC, CMT, MTV, Heartland, as well as closed circuit television on cruise liners, casinos and hotels.

In 2021 Miranda became the host of ‘Plains Country’, a weekly live radio show on Plains FM.

Miranda is currently working on her second album.

Following the success of singles Cowboy Lullaby and the super-catchy Country Boy across Australia and USA, Christchurch’s Miranda Easten is releasing her long awaited debut album Behind Unbroken Strings. The collection proves that she is a master of twang and a face of modern country music.

There is nothing alt-country, or country rock crossover about this record – Miranda is unashamedly and consistently in the traditional mould of pure country music.

Her voice is strong, clear and subtly twanging with a US lilt that matches the lyrical content of a number of the tracks, which feature cowboys, trucks, freeways and tractors among other ‘standard’ country music content.

Country Boy kicks off the album in style, and is an energetic and romantic love song about the excitement of a relationship in its early stages, including falling in love, and learning new things about each other.  It has a pure vocal line, with a melody that nods to Lionel Richie’s Say You Say Me, and shows off the quality team that Miranda has put together to record the album, in Greg Haver as Producer and drummer, along with Auckland based musicians Tom Healy, Cass Basil, Stephen Small and Mark Hughes.

There is a reflective and slightly plaintiff feel to some of the tracks, with House Bus Steve providing a powerful emotional vibe, and the first single Cowboy Lullaby being a stripped back acoustic guitar number, with a stronger drawl in the vocals that really places Miranda firmly in the Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves tent, rather than the previously mentioned crossover camps, like Taylor Swift or Shania Twain.  There is no criticism here, this is pure and crystal-clear country, like the air around the Christchurch area in NZ.

The band gets some more exposure in The Travellers, with some intricate slide guitar work and rolling piano lines under the melody, and then the drums add a bit of power to the more upbeat In Love Again which in my view is perhaps the most commercially accessible track on the album, and features some more excellent guitar work.  

This Old House takes us back to the Virginia hills in a lilting ballad, while Only One shows off a different dimension to Miranda’s voice, with a lower-register and slightly husky delivery in the verse before the chorus sees her deliver some real emotion in the clear pure harmonies.  There is a retro Motown pop feel to You that is both uplifting, yet retaining that thoughtful reflection in the tone that keeps this rooted in the country genre.  With no wish to detract from Miranda’s talent, the album has been given some real polish from the guys in the band, and Greg Haver on the drums is a standout (as a drummer myself).

The closer is the title track, and a delicate piano melody and haunting vocal opens up Behind Unbroken Strings which delivers a powerful emotional punch in three minutes of heart-wrenching vocals over the mournful lament of the piano.

There is a cover of REM’s Country Feedback on some versions of the album, but not on my review copy, so that will remain a surprise to any listener!  Other commentators have called it “an inspired highlight” of the record.

 

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