Totally Biased Fan Review: Kora Naughton – Ride or Die

A brief time ago, I heard Leonie play this wonderful girl on her Saturday morning radio show on the way to work. I nearly fell off my bus seat. A young teenage girl with a head of a forty year old and a heart and a soul of someone so many tears and years ahead of herself….someone who had lived a thousand years instead of her young age.
In this circumstance, youth was not wasted on the young. I was just gobsmacked as Kora sang a few songs in the studio and then they played her single.
I have never given a Kazzie on the strength of one song before, but I was compelled to give Kora the nod. But I am getting ahead of myself.
When I arrived in the 2GLF studio a few days later, Bob Browne said to me….I am so excited. I have found this song by this young girl and you are not going to believe it….she is just so awesome. She is going to have hit after hit after hit after hit. (Bob’s favourite saying). He was like a little boy in a lolly shop. He played a few bars and I smiled. “Yes, Leonie played her on Saturday….I am stoked. This kid has IT.
Bob and I gladly played her song, Wrong…many times. Next weekend, at Hats Off in Tamworth, I will be going to her album launch, but this is a sneak peak at the album that will make a pretty heavy impact on the modern country music scene.
I don’t like to slot people into specific genres of country music and Kora’s music is so varied that each song has its own category. Under the wonderful guidance of one of Australia’s best musos, Rod Motbey, this album purrs, rocks, soothes, rolls and shakes. It also ticks off many of the 79 categories of country music.
Interestingly, Wrong is not on this album. I am not sure why, but with 10 strong tracks, it probably is okay that it stood alone as a single.
All but one of the songs are purely written by Kora. The other one, the single, I don’t wanna grow up is co-written by David Carter, one half of the dynamic duo, Carter and Carter. I know Dave pretty well and he would have enjoyed getting stuck into a rockin’ song, which is where his roots are firmly entrenched. These days, he mellows it out with his wife, but he would have loved this.
Kora is Janis Joplin meeting Kasey Chambers meeting Lucinda Williams. That’s not a bad trio. The songs on this album carry some punch. Even the slower, bluesier songs bite at your ankles. It is still very hard to believe that she is so young.
Leonie had Kora singing Cease Fire live and it is a powerful song, written by someone so young, but apt, it was written in the aftermath of the events at Manchester at the Ariana Grande gig. I heard it on the bus that day and I was astounded. Kora has expressed her need in song and in life of not wanting to grow up, but the maturity and the deep sensitivity of her writing make it pretty clear that she is beyond her years. I really love When the Seasons Change and Influence. They really speak to me. Wonderful songs. Ex’s and Oh Hell No’s is an interesting song. When I saw the title, I instantly thought of the Trisha Yearwood song, x’s and o’s but it is very different to that one!  I thought that at first that it may be a young girl’s take on that song. So Small is a timely song. It focuses on the Bully element in society. Kora is in year 11, so I guess she sees a lot of it. It is one of the tracks on the album that has a definitive country vibe in both lyrics and melody.
Kora has expressed in interviews her love of writing stories since she was very young. The key to a great song these days is still the story behind it and each of these great songs has a story behind it. Perhaps, one day, a novel or a biography will be on the shelf of my library or a book shop, written by Kora Naughton. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least. This young lady is capable of anything. She has a unique sound which has strong influences. That sounds like a paradox and it probably is, but when you mix different kinds of music you often come up with that sound. Every track is a winner, in its own special way. Go get ’em Kora.
By the way, the title track sounds a little bleak, but it couldn’t be any more different….listen and you will understand.
Ride or Die – (Kora)
Influence – (Kora)
Will to Fight (Kora)
When the Seasons Change (Kora)
So Small (Kora)
Ravenswood Lane (Kora)
Ex’s and Oh Hell No’s (Kora)
I don’t wanna grow up (Kora and David Carter)
Every Letter (Kora)
Cease Fire (Kora)
Rod Motbey – Drum programming, percussion, bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, slide guitar, resonator guitar, banjo, organ, keyboards and backing vocals.
Luke Moller – Fiddle and Mandolin
Smith Curry – Pedal Steel
Lawrie Minson – Harmonica
Produced, Engineered and mixed by Rod Motbey
Mastered by Steve Corrao