If Taylor Swift had stayed with her country roots, she could only hope to sound as good as Allie Louise, a teenage newcomer bursting into the country scene from Macomb, Ill.
Born Allie Louise Shermetaro, the singer-guitarist made a name for herself before she was 15 by playing at open mic nights and in competitions. Sass is her style, and tenacity is her trademark on her six-track EP, "Allie Louise."
The EP includes mostly fast-paced songs, including singles "Perfect Storm" - a torrential downpour of handclaps, toe-taps and guitars that can sweep away country fans and casual listeners alike. In response is "Stilettos," which accurately describes the way many women cover up their frustrations and pain, and "Diamond Ring," a self-empowerment ballad.
One of the best tracks is "It's Gettin' Old," an ironic song for a mid-teen singer that couples wisdom with dance hall sound. "Somethin' 'Bout 'Nothin'" echoes the best of guitar-and-drum 1990s pop without becoming antiquated, appealing to nostalgic listeners a decade older than the singer.
Not every song belongs at a midsummer block party, however. The stripped-down "Tell Me Now" showcases Allie Louise's vocal strength, guitar strumming and ability to convey messages that should be beyond her years.
"Allie Louise" introduces listeners to a talent that shows the same potential as the A-list country singers who have come before her, from Trisha Yearwood to Carrie Underwood.