This September, Casey Ahern is back with a fresh set of string-driven melodies encapsulated within her new single “Just a Dance,” and though the aspiring country star hasn’t shied away from issuing some thoughtful, wholly forward-thinking balladry in the past, personally I found this latest track to be one of her sharpest recordings yet. “Just a Dance” is a fairly straight-up country song, but what it lacks in experimentations it more than makes up for in a reliable, rhythmic swing that is complemented by Ahern’s swaggering performance behind the microphone. Simply put, this single is a true stud in a year that’s been full of duds.
“Just a Dance” boasts quite the multilayered master mix, though it’s worth pointing out that it contains literally none of the overindulgences that often accompany such a stacked song. The string parts, from the guitar to the bass and back to the fiddle, are each given a unique space to shine within the mix, and while the lead vocal gets the lion’s share of the love here, it doesn’t overpower the instrumentation at all – the exact opposite, truth be told. If Ahern wants to stir our soul with every facet of her composing, she’s doing one heck of a job in this track.
I’ve never been the biggest tech nerd, but the equalization on the guitars in “Just a Dance” rivals some of the most sophisticated heavy metal and rock singles that I’ve reviewed since the start of the year. There was a time in Nashville where guitar-slingers ruled supreme, and even though that’s not at all what Ahern is going for in this number, she’s giving her six-string element the love and respect that it deserves here, and further setting an example for her peers with regards to how a guitar melody should be handled.
There’s no muddiness in this bassline, nor is there any unneeded distortion being thrown all over the place in general in “Just a Dance;” not only does Casey Ahern make it overwhelmingly clear from the get-go in this track that she has no interest in cheap thrills, but she seemingly goes out of her way to make the tonality of the song all the richer by keeping things black and white. She’s doing everything right, and rather than sounding like just another country singer following a tried formula for success, she’s imparting a little piece of her soul to us while staying away from recycled aesthetics altogether.
If this is on par with what we can expect to hear out of the one and only Casey Ahern as she continues to make a splash in the ever-evolving genre that is American country music, her momentum as an artist will only continue to grow stronger with each and every recording she cuts. No songwriter is perfect, but as long as this amazingly adept musician keeps finding ways to put her own personalized stamp on a conventional country tune, she’s going to get big enough to where even the Nashville establishment won’t be able to ignore her artistic might.