Gravy Train – A Brand New Day
Genre: Folk rock, Americana
Similar artists: Have Gun, Will Travel, The Band, Turnpike Troubadours, Townes Van Zandt, Kris Kristofferson
Songwriting has undoubtedly evolved. Long ago, would-be rockstars figured out that songs didn’t really have to mean anything. They could still be successful. What they needed was, first, to adhere to a certain amount of rules that governed hitmaking at that particular time. And secondly, they needed a bit of luck to get in front of an audience.
While often criticized and usually for no good reason, U.S. country music is one of the few genres that has stubbornly avoided taking this path. Sure, pop tunes have made their way into the country. But, for the most part, there are still a tremendous amount of young artists making country-inspired songs that feature a story, a message, and/or a dialogue with their would-be audience. In a world of nonsense pop, I won’t lie. This feels refreshing.
Gravy Train’s A brand new day is a song written under the divine inspiration of the great country-rock bands of the 1960s and their outlaw spirit. While the storytelling aspects and the comfortable, slow build-up to the song may seem eccentric for ardent listeners of pop radio, their music has a built-in audience of millions. People are still looking for stories and for honest, well-crafted songwriting. The country-infused songs are among the few ones to cater to these needs nowadays.
Eimhin – Lately
Genre: Indie Rock
Similar artists: Phoebe Bridgers, Elbow, Sam Fender
Pop music audiences are more knowledgable than they have ever been. How could they not be? A lot of the people that comprise the audience have heard most of what pop music has had to offer for the last decades. The same goes for movies, novels, and paintings. So, while nostalgia-freaks might complain about how music “just ain’t what it used to be,” it’s important to remember that the audiences who first heard Elvis Presley hadn’t been treated with many pop music treats.
This doesn’t mean that everyone wants to dedicate their lives to building the most comprehensive record collection. It also doesn’t mean that the best-written novels will achieve success or that the most innovative visual artists will get their just rewards. But, at the very least, it will mean that audiences will be somewhat familiar with what works and what doesn’t in these kinds of contexts. It’s hard to lie to someone that’s witnessed so much.
There’s a mix of old and new pop sounds in Eimhin’s Lately that will feel familiar to pop audiences. This will happen whether or not they own the records from which Eimhin is quoting. The single is a tune that calls upon 80s British indie and modern pop-folk for guidance. It relies on subtle pop hooks and gentle vocals to draw in its listeners. And, it sounds like its place in pop music’s ever-evolving history is effortlessly secured.