Alyssa Bonagura “Love Wins” EP Review

Helen PocockReviews1 Comment


Writing and recording five songs during one day seems like an insane and impossible challenge, but that’s exactly the process behind Alyssa Bonagura’s new EP, “Love Wins” which was released last Friday, May 3rd (Extreme Music).  And if you’re expecting the quality of the resulting output to be compromised in some way, which is a fair assumption, let me assure you that is definitely not the case. 

Teaming up with the writing/production team known as Hook Haus at Nashville’s Endure Studios, each of the tracks are equally impressive as the Tennessee native (who hails from Franklin) celebrates love in its various forms. 

The EP begins in an explosive way with the incredible “No Stoppin’ This Train”, an ode to her new found happiness following a toxic relationship. “Started dancing again the day I final left you” she tells us in the opening lines, she has obviously never looked back and like the titular train is continuing full pelt into her new life. So many clever travelling analogies in the lyrics, the arrangement brings to mind the clickerty clack of the railway, the strength of Alyssa’s vocals immediately obvious. 

This positivity continues with the title track which is up next, a powerful bluesy/gospel inspired song (what phenomenal backing vocals!) once again celebrating the end of dark times. It’s a reassuring write, aimed at anyone who is going through tough times and urging them to hang tight as all will eventually be ok. Love will conquer all despite the fact that “evil tries to make a home in the cracks of your heart like a weed”. 

“I’m Done“ has a more mainstream country/pop sound, probably the most radio friendly track which I actually think would make a great Eurovision entry (yes, I’m a big fan of the competition!). In a similar vein to the preceding tracks it’s all about moving on, leaving fear and negativity behind and having fun! 

Which brings us to the out and out love song on the EP, “There Was You” which demonstrates a different side to Alyssa’s versatile vocals. The tempo comes down, the acoustic guitar led accompaniment is much simpler and these factors together with the dreamy lyrics demand a more delicate vocal delivery. I love how she likens her life before and after she found her new partner to music … beforehand she had resigned herself to having to “always sing the blues“ despite wanting to “sing her songs in harmony“ but now they are together it’s “all a symphony”. 

This uplifting EP closes with the incredibly moving ballad  “Never Alone” offering words of comfort to anyone who may be feeling that the world is against them. Its message is even more powerful when you realise Alyssa wrote it from the perspective of her best friend Roman who is no longer with us, imagining what he would be telling those he left behind. It is almost prayer like in places, and I feel it could be interpreted as a parent’s wish to their children when it comes to lines such as “I hope you have an open heart and a peaceful mind, you chase your dreams and the world is kind“. It’s a really beautiful way to bring this fantastic EP to an end. Congratulations to everyone involved in this intense and unusual project. 

Stream/Download “Love Wins” here

Alyssa is currently touring through out the UK supporting The Shires , and has also recently announced her first headline tour here with dates throughout June. All  dates can of course be found in our gig guide

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