Emily West – “Rocks In Your Shoes”

Jim Malec | February 19th, 2008

Emily WestOne of the most disheartening things about the current state of mainstream country music is its abject lack of personality. There are few new artists who possess genuine, non-fabricated star quality, and fewer even who seem to have anything particularly interesting to say.

Enter Waterloo, Iowa, native Emily West, a Capital Nashville newcomer with a radiant personality who is anything but prefab. West’s debut single “Rocks in your Shoes” is a fun-but-gritty up-tempo that exudes confidence and perfectly frames her music as a stark contrast to the quasi-pop stylings of Swiklerwood (a.k.a. Taylor Swift, Kellie Pickler and Carrie Underwood–the only three females appearing on this week’s Billboard Hot 25 Country Singles Chart).

West’s voice is compelling, mature, and at times reminiscent of Patty Loveless, and “Rocks in your Shoes” features an infectious rhythm and (get ready for this) a lyrical hook (!) that actually makes sense (!!)–something that is becoming increasingly more rare in the midst of the current deluge of sappy story songs and over-thunk musings.

I like this because it’s fun, and music should be fun sometimes. But I love this because it’s simple without being stupid and smart without being cumbersome. If this isn’t a perfect debut single, it’s damn close.

Thumbs Up

Listen: Emily West – “Rocks in your Shoes”

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  1. [...] remember Emily West, he says she’s going to make a big splash. After you read that, check out Jim’s review of her debut single “Rocks In Your Shoes.” (via [...]
  2. [...] (Read The 9513’s review of “Rocks In Your Shoes”) [...]
  3. [...] added a new video to the review of Emily West’s single “Rocks In Your Shoes.” There are only a few noticeable cuts, which is pretty impressive for the number of settings and all [...]
  1. Brody Vercher
    February 19, 2008 at 11:45 am

    Swiklerwood, very nice.

  2. CF
    February 19, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Hmmm…it sounds pretty good. If it weren’t for your review, I’d probably never check her out. It’s even on iTunes…I just may buy it – it’s pretty catchy and she does kinda sound like Patty at times.

  3. Jordan Stacey
    February 19, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    I bought her digital EP when it cam out back in december and it hasn’t disapointed me yet. Three of the songs are in my top twenty most listened to songs on my ipod. I love it. Hopefully Emily will be successful with this one. There hasn’t been any great new female artist in a long time (which have succeeded). With both Ashley Monroe and Sarah Buxton lost in Major Label Land it looks like there will have to be somebody else. I’ve noticed though how there is a couple of interesting newcomers, besides Emily and Ashton, there is Crystal Shawanda, and Star De Azlan who both sound like they may make it through.

    P.S. Coul somebody please review Star De Azlan’s single, and if you have already I must have missed it.

  4. Rick
    February 20, 2008 at 2:19 am

    I want to commend Emily for NOT having John Rich invloved in this project so that her debut radio single wasn’t another “Corn Fed”. Hopefully Emily will fare better than fellow Iowan Shannon Brown, who at least wound up with the consolation prize of marrying her hot shot music video producer Shaun Silva. (Note: Shannon’s unreleased debut album “Tour of My Heart” was far superior to “Corn Fed”.)

    I like Emily’s song and style, but the odds are soooo stacked against her in today’s closed loop mainstream country radio marketplace. They already have Taylor, Carrie, Kellie, Martina, Sara, Faith and second stringers Trisha, Miranda, and Terri that their dance card is full! My new fave Ashton Shepherd has miraculously clawed her way to about # 27 on the Mediabase country chart, but the big FM country station here in Los Angeles has completely ingored her. Goofballs…….

  5. Double-L
    February 20, 2008 at 4:49 am

    Have you seen this, yet? It’s priceless. Especially the Celine Dion and Taylor Dane section.


  6. Jim Malec
    February 20, 2008 at 9:25 am

    Seen it, loved it!

  7. Xanthia
    February 20, 2008 at 10:52 am

    love Emily’s new song heard it for first time on radio this am 2/20/08 great voice!

  8. Brady Vercher
    February 21, 2008 at 10:51 am

    I thought that video did a great job of showing off her personality, Double-L, I wish it showed up more in her music, though. She also looks a lot like Faith Hill in quite a few of her press pictures, so I wonder if they were aiming for that. Here’s an interesting tidbit I found: the original Yellow Rose of Texas was named Emily West, too.

  9. Lucas
    February 21, 2008 at 11:33 am

    I wish that video would have told a little more about her, but it was funny.

  10. Kelly
    February 21, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Lucas, I do not mean to pick on you, but what does a video generally tell the viewer about the artist? It was comical, so thats must say something about her personality. A video’s story and vibe is generally a directors call, especially for the lesser known artists. Outside of “Hurt”,”South Texas Girl” and “When I get Where I am Going”, videos arent generally very personal.

  11. Lucas
    February 21, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    I’m talking about the “A First Look at Emily West” video, which seems like it’s supposed to be an EPK. EPK’s are generally made to get people to know more about the artist on a personal level.

  12. Kelly
    February 22, 2008 at 8:26 am

    My bad, I’ll shut up…(for a minute or so at least)

  13. Mike Wallace
    February 22, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    She is very cute and her music isn’t to bad either but not sure if she is going to be a superstar in country tho.

  14. Lucas
    February 22, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    I think it’s next to impossible to predict if anybody’s going to be a superstar unless there’s a sampling survey of a couple million! I do like her voice.

  15. Suzanne
    February 24, 2008 at 8:29 am

    I think she is fabulous and her music is out of this world. It’s about time we heard someone origianl and up beat without being corny and teeny-bopperish. All of her songs have meaning and make sence. I love her lyrics. I think a lot of people will be able to relate to her authentcity.

  16. Mimi
    February 24, 2008 at 8:35 am

    I love this girl….Her song reflects who she is….you can’t sing the matra unless you’ve lived it! AND we’ve all lived it….it’s a grand slam

  17. Colt
    February 24, 2008 at 11:15 am

    Do you know who the songwriters were on this one?

  18. Connie
    February 24, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Emily is refreshing she scored big points with me.

  19. D
    February 25, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    Every once in awhile someone like Emily comes along to take the music world by storm. There have been a few in the past, Patsi, Reba, Martina, Faith etc…… Emily’s voice is pure, her personality is fresh and real and a she is a true joy to listen to. Can you spell SUPERSTAR!!!!!

  20. Steve
    February 25, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    WOW!!! This girl’s got it ALL!! Can’t wait for her album to debut. What a beauty! What a voice! What a song!

  21. Suzanne
    February 26, 2008 at 8:51 am

    to Colt~ Emily writes a lot of her own songs. She co-wrote Rocks in Your Shoes.

  22. Mimi
    February 26, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    I think I heard her say she wrote Rocks with Annie Tate and Dave Berg? She got the song title from her Granddaddy….cute.

  23. Double-L
    March 1, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    Brady, I KNOW! :-(

    I just put her on the Brawl this past week and talked her up, only to realize after playing the tune for my audience, there was nothing in “Rocks” that would shine-through, personality-wise! BUT! I do think she “has it” in “Annie” from her MySpace site. Have you heard that one?

    I head off to CRS tomorrow and will get to see her perform at Cap Showcase, so I’ll let ya know how she does! And I agree! She looks a LOT like Faith in some of those pics!

  24. amers
    March 5, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    You guys have a good find here. I live in Nashville and have been listening to Emily play for the last year – her performances are always dead-on. She can quiet a chatty room in just a few notes. She’s kooky as hell and you never know what’s gonna come out of her mouth, but it’s always entertaining. All my best wishes to her! Now the rest of you should buy her stuff on iTunes.

  25. Emily West
    March 11, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    I just want to thank you for all of your delicious postings- especially my mom, dad, and my sister. (Smiles)

    I am having such a blast so far and can’t wait for other exciting new adventures to come along.


    ‘Rocks in Your Shoes’ is on the Billboard Charts. Whory Cow!!

    Ps…I love me some Faith Hill and I want you all to know that I am not trying to look like her. I just do. Blame it on my fine genetics, and my party hair that just happens to have an identical ‘Faith style’

    But, I’ve tried going red and cutting it short and it’s just not good.
    People expected me to know things, an it was much too difficult to be parading around with red hair. people don’t expect that much out of you if you have blonde hair. I plan on keeping it this way.

    Again, Thank you for the Faith compliment…AND THE awesome kudos for my new single Rocks!!!

    Love Emily W.

  26. Lori
    March 12, 2008 at 6:12 am

    Emily is the up and coming artist that I am the MOST excited about! I can’t wait for her full CD to be released . . . so I don’t have to keep her myspace page minimized all the time! She’s fabulous!

  27. Heidi
    March 13, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    I love this song!!!!

  28. Emilie
    March 16, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    I hope Emily hits it big, because she is absolutely amazing. She has the talent and the charisma to make it big. I love “Rocks In Your Shoes,” don’t get me wrong, but I think the song pales in comparison to some of her others: “Bulletproof”, “Blue Sky”, and “Mississippi’s Crying”, just to name a few. I saw her perform live in September at 3rd and Lindsley here in Nashville, and I think that her voice is so transcendent live and that the recordings, while amazing, don’t do her unique voice justice. You have to hear this girl live! I wish you the best, Emily!

  29. dave berg
    April 5, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    I’m a co-writer on Emily’s “Rocks In Your Shoes”. I’ve been writing in Nashville for 11 years now, and I have to honestly say you would be hard pressed to find a more talented artist. She just has that “it” factor. She can sing with the best of them, she is a wonderful writer. and she has more personality then the law should allow. If you get the chance to see her live, she and her songs will make you laugh out loud, be moved to tears, get chills and goose bumps, and leave you wanting more. All delivered with complete and utter genuine sincerity. And no, I’m not biased. Just honest.

  30. Stephen H.
    April 24, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    Dave, the only issue I have with this song is it’s content-wise, melody-wise, and in other areas very similar to your “If You’re Going Through Hell.” I was able to sing the words of IYGTH, with that song’s melody, along with “Rocks” and it fit perfectly. So I’m surprised you and Tate cowrote it, as you really just took the earlier song and slightly tweaked it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad song by any means. Just a little too similar.

  31. Abby
    April 28, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    I agree with you, Stephen. The verses of “Rocks in Your Shoes” are pretty much identical to the chorus of “If You’re Going Through Hell.” I’m surprised no one else mentioned the similarity on this thread.

  32. T J
    May 13, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    Hi Opry girl Em, thanks again for the comment on myspace!
    You rock! I was wondering earlier what vitamins you are taking because the completed “Rock In Your Shoes” video really took a lot of energy. I burn calories just watching you get around in that video.
    Still posting for you on CMT message boards though it is a little lonely over there. We need more fans to post for you.
    You are a natural on the Opry – I so enjoyed the two times I was able to listen on line to you. I also hope you did not get your car towed? lol.

  33. Leeann
    May 14, 2008 at 8:16 am

    The two songs may be similar, but I think Emily’s song is more engaging. I never really took to “If You’re Going Through Hell” too much, but I really like “Rocks In Your Shoes”, though I won’t argue it’s lack of originality.

  34. Corri
    August 13, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    Emily is AWESOME! :o)

    The Country world better watch out for her…because this girl is going to be huge!

  35. Sue
    August 23, 2008 at 12:42 am

    Emily is the real deal. She’s talented, a natural beauty and realy down to earth. She deserves any success that comes her way because she’s doing it the old fashioned way, earning it. No pop, over night success or reality, luck shows. She’s been in the studio for eight years mastering her craft and girl it’s paying off. You rock!


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