University of Wisconsin alum Alannah McCready spent far more time on the ice than in the studio while in Madison. She certainly did not believe that she would turn music into her career when she graduated. Now, McCready is living in Atlanta preparing to release her sophomore LP, Ricochet Heart, on April 27.

McCready had the opportunity to start recording several years ago after her uncle connected her with a studio in Nashville.

“I have amazing support from my family,” McCready said.

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This led to McCready leaving her sports public relations gig in New York to try out a non-traditional country career.

Music has always been a part of her life, especially as a phenomenal athlete.

“I’m from Saint Paul, so I don’t have the twang you hear in most country singers, I’m a little more soulful. I’m always listening to either country or trap music, so hopefully, you can hear that influence in my music. You’ll also never catch me in a pair of cowboy boots, only in heels,” McCready said.

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These Saint Paul roots led to an interest in hockey, which eventually earned her a scholarship to play on the UW women’s team that won the 2009 NCAA Women’s Ice Hockey Championship. With her mother having roots in Oklahoma, country music always had an unconventional place in McCready’s heart.

The marriage of these two cultures is evident in McCready’s lead single from the album, “Last Girl Standing”, which made its debut on The Boot last Friday. The guitar riffs are distinctly country on the track and the rhythms are prime to elicit the signature “stomp and clap” effect found in country music, but the lyrical content is distinctly feministic.

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The music video highlights this combination further, drawing inspiration from the lyrics, “I’ll drink you under the table on a Saturday night, singing for the Lord until we see daylight, a real man loves when he’s been beat,” derailing McCready engaging in a comical drinking contest with a guy at a bar.

This distinct style of girl power characterizes the entirety of Ricochet Heart.

McCready seeks to bring out common experiences many women have on the new album as opposed to the more personal stories shared on her first album, Love Hangover.

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“Now that I’m older, I’m constantly listening to my friends and the things that they’re going through. The majority of the things that they’ve been through, I’ve also been through as well and they’re not all great. Though you’re going to get your heart crushed, you’re going to get it back at some point,” McCready said.

The opening track on the album, “Enemies With Benefits,” captures this shared experience to a T. The lyrics “I don’t like you, I never will, but you’ve got a body like a Coupe de Ville” resonate with many young women who will enter into physically beneficial relationships without emotional attachment.

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Other highlights include the soulful title track “Ricochet Heart” and “Steal a Ladder”, which has the makings of a perfect jam for any potential summer fling.

McCready plans on starting her summer touring schedule with album launch parties in both Atlanta and Minnesota, with an eventual stop (or two) in Madison later in the summer. Ricochet Heart drops on April 27, but until then, you can rock in your heels to “Last Girl Standing” on The Boot.