By Aaron Wagner
Listen. It’s no secret that here at Raised On It, we have a thing for the male-female collaboration. Whether it’s the powerhouse vocals of Tim and Faith or groups like Lady Antebellum, there’s just something special about that sound from both a male and a female.
Enter Haley & Michaels.
Introduced by a mutual friend in 2012, Shannon Haley and Ryan Michael realized that they had a ton in common, from growing up a few miles away to their love of music. And thank goodness they met, because their ability harmonize and create such a pure sound is something we need in this world.
Chemistry is apparent just from one listen, so it shouldn’t surprise you that the two wed in 2015. Now on to their latest album.
Hail Mary is a full project full of 12 songs. Fans of the duo will recognize some that they’ve released over the years but that’s a good thing as those songs are a huge part of who they are as an artist and getting them to this point.
Not to sound like a broken record, but in country music the songwriting and storytelling is the name of the game. Throughout Hail Mary we are told different stories that you can tell have meaning behind them. Heartbreak, love, setting the night on fire…you name it and this album has it.
The album kicks things off with the title track “Hail Mary” which is the perfect inspirational anthem to get things going. They keep things moving along with “Drinking About You” a song that I think has single potential before they give us the classic living life to its fullest song in “If We Don’t Get Tomorrow.”
Just when you think you’ve figured them out, Haley & Michaels pull a 180 with “High Note.” A bittersweet song, it tells the story about knowing a relationship has hit its peak but you still care so much about that person you don’t want things to end badly.
“Drunk Text” is a snappy song that has some very clever play on words. You can just picture what a music video would look like. Then there’s “What We’re Made Of,” which is one of the best songs on the album. It’s an uplifting song for those who never give up and just grind through it.
“Giving It All (To You)” is one the two released back in 2015 but I’m so glad they included it on the project to get more people acclimated to it as it’s the song that jump started their career.
“Got You Covered” is hands down my favorite song on the album. Equal parts seductive and playful, the song tells the story of being comfortable just staying in and close to your person all night.
I know it’s winter but “VIBIN” is one that has you dreaming about those hot and long summer nights with your friends. Switching gears again, “The Price I Pay” is a song about perspective, realizing after the fact how hard it’s going to be to move forward no longer being with the person you loved. They continue on with “All Out,” an uptempo, driving song that gets you in the mood to take on the town and go all out.
Haley & Michaels put a gigantic bow on the project by closing out the album with “I Still Do.” It’s simply a beautiful, piano-infused ballad that lets their vocals shine. Nothing overly produced as it’s just each of their vocals which is a really cool thing to hear.