Ray Hodge - Braveheart

Review by Shannon Shumaker

If you aren’t already familiar with indie soul-pop artist Ray Hodge, now is the perfect time to get to know him. With an undeniably powerful voice coupled with inspirational storytelling, Ray Hodge is destined for greatness on his debut EP, Braveheart. Although it is only six songs in length, you’ll feel connected with Braveheart from the moment “I Am King” opens things up, and will find yourself invested in the musical journey long before the end of the final song, “Fast Drive.”

Easily one of the best things about Hodge’s voice is the power that it exudes, and the opening track, “I Am King” is the perfect way to establish just that. The acapella track is absolutely stunning as Hodge belts, “Cause I’m no slave/For I am king,” the pride and power in his vocals enough to blow you away without any backing music or instrumentals. The soul and energy of “I Am King” then translates directly into the following track, “Voodoo,” but in an explosive and gritty full band sound, proving that Hodge can shine alone or with a band. Where “I Am King” establishes the strength of his vocals, “Voodoo” explores his impressive range even more, and it’s absolutely breathtaking.

From there, the intensity of the album dies down a little, opening up into a poppier, softer sound with “Braveheart.” Similar to the first two songs, the title track is very positive and uplifting, but takes on a much more catchy and lighthearted sound. “Braveheart” proves, only three songs in, that Ray Hodge is practically capable of anything, and lyrically, he assures that you are, too. The following song, “If It’s Easy,” is very emotional and raw, but quickly turns into an upbeat and catchy dance track, showing us yet another side of the talented artist and so far, there’s not one song that sounds out of place. Closing out the EP is “Stand Up,” another big and inspirational track, similar to “Braveheart,” followed by the gritty and fun, “Fast Drive” which will easily leave you wanting more.

The great thing about this EP is Ray Hodge’s ability to bend genre and surprise you. One moment, his voice is soft and sensual, and then in the blink of an eye, it’s powerful, gritty and full of soul. Hell, sometimes it’s both at the same time. Ray Hodge has managed to create six captivating, unique and powerful songs on Braveheart, which promises to launch his career. Learn Ray Hodge’s name, because he is quickly going to become one of the most powerful voices in indie music.

Rating: 5/5

Listen to "Voodoo"

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