EmiSunshine is only thirteen-years-old and has already made a name for herself online through her social media presence. With her own YouTube channel, she became something of a viral hit when she performed a Jimmie Rodgers song when she was just ten-years-old. If she sounds like a country Justin Bieber or a precocious little kid, think again, as on Ragged Dreams she proves herself as a songwriter with a voice that can hit home and reminded me of the first time I ever heard Iris Dement. The music is rootsy, frequently touched with bluegrass influences, and the songs which are all written or co-written by EmiSunshine are strong and scarily grown-up from one so young. Emily Sunshine Hamilton covers serious topics such as the Gatlinburg fires and Virginia floods and stories of murder, deceit, vengeful spirits, and incarceration. This ain’t no bubblegum music, this is music for grownups. You might not expect a thirteen-year-old to be paying tribute to Porter Wagoner but EmiSunshine does on Porter Wagoner Blues and it’s sure to find a welcome with any traditional fan and EmiSunshine even sounds a little like Dolly in parts. She also sings of Johnny, John & Jesus in a track which recalls her days busking on the streets. Sinner’s Serenade is very grown-up and reflects on a prisoner who has come to grips with their own incarceration. Possibly her most ambitious song yet also incredibly poignant is Ninety Miles. It’s a song she’s written for a friend with Autism and with it she’s created a window into the world of a sufferer. It’s likely to get her a lot of attention as it’s a brave subject to tackle and she does it really well. I really like the closing track Danny Ray which has been featured in the film Promised Land and it’s EmiSunshine’s tribute to Nancy Griffith via New Orleans. It’s scary how somebody so young could be quite this good. It’s a mature album with grown-up themes but not in that scary, American beauty pageant kind of way. It’s also ironic that somebody who is the target audience for the most modern country is making music that is more grown-up than anything on the chart. If this had been made by a 25-year-old or a 40-year-old this would be a stunning album and it’s made even more so because of her lack of years. It also includes some family members on bass and mandolin alongside notables such as Randy Kohrs and even Jeremy Pinnell on acoustic guitar. It’s stunning in every way and puts to shame all the female acts on the country chart. – Kelly Gregory