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    Album Review: Dave Barnes, ‘Who Knew It Would Be So Hard To Be Myself’

    If you’re looking for something to warm you up during this harsh Nashville winter, we’ve got the record for you. Dave Barnes’ newest album, Who Knew It Would Be So Hard To Be Myself, is an upbeat and soulful production that brings the heat.

    The record comes after Barnes released two EPs — Who Knew Vol. 1 and Who Knew It Would Be So Hard Vol. 2. When we chatted with Barnes back in December, he discussed releasing the album in pieces. John Mayer inspired the idea.

    “We thought that would be a cool way to approach doing this and see if people can live with the music a little longer. Then by the time the full album lands, there’s a real attachment to it,” he explained.

    Now, the full album is here and we can’t get enough. Who Knew It Would Be So Hard To Be Myself bends genres lines, blending country and blues with pop and R&B. The mixing is clean and well produced with Barnes’ vocals standing out crisply on every track.

    The title track gives off a relaxed beach vibe while telling the story of a man struggling to stay true to himself in an industry that doesn’t always allow that. It’s honest. It’s raw and it’s vulnerable. It’s the album’s standout.

    Parents will appreciate the bluesy feel (and the humor behind) “Having Kids.” This song shows Barnes’ fun-loving dad side while “Remember That I Love You” and “A Song For My Children” are more emotional and sentimental.

    “Chasing Dreams” is another standout. If you ever need a reminder to not give up on yourself, or your dreams, this is the inspirational song you need. “Everything With Everything” is another positive, optimistic anthem that reminds us how much we love Barnes’ heart.

    Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Barnes hits all the right romantic notes on this album. “Big Ole Love” is a perfectly constructed love song with a country twang while “Want to Want You” shows the sexy side of love. “Never Lose My Love” is another affectionate anthem but it feels more like a heavenly love that he’s singing about.

    All in all, you’ll have a great time grooving to this album that’s chock full of love. Whether it’s a familial love or a romantic love that you identify more with, there’s truly something for everyone (and the whole family) And, honestly, love is something we need more of right now.

    Grab a copy of Who Knew It Would Be So Hard To Be Myself below and let us know your favorite track in the comments.