Songwriter and poet Tommy Botz’s new single “Teddy Bear” is a moving, evocative country anthem in an era that has been plagued with inauthenticity and uninspired fodder from the Nashville establishment. Having overcome some of the most difficult strife that any of us could ever imagine facing, Botz has found a peaceful, spiritual medium in music that serves as the perfect means for him to express his immense depth of creativity. “Teddy Bear” doesn’t rely on the same predictable pop hooks nor the shimmering radiance of a refined mix to win over all who press play on its nearly five minutes of opulent melodies; instead, it merely presents a brooding ballad in all of its unfiltered glory.
Childlike lyricism is essential to the narrative of this single, but the prose in which it is delivered is far from amateurish to say the least. There’s a certain maturity in these words, a retrospective quality that is virtually impossible for us to escape, and in my opinion it’s what really ties the emotional vibe of the music together with the verses themselves. Botz is careful not to devolve into self-righteousness or reserved ego-analysis; his style is steeped in speaking from the heart, and not preaching to his audience.
There’s plenty of countrified twang in this track to make even the most discriminating of bucolic ballad enthusiasts satisfied, but there’s also an undeniably adult contemporary pop texture to the vocal that I think is more than enough to sustain this single’s success outside of Nashville strongholds. I like that while rock n’ roll volume is flirted with here, it’s never so explored as to remove the consistency in the country rhythm of the song. Though he’s got the chops to raise some eyebrows down south, there’s just as much to be said about Botz’s knack for cultivating a slick pop groove like the one we find in “Teddy Bear.”
A beautiful vocal track is the star of this single without a doubt, but the singer doesn’t overpower the rest of the band by any stretch of your imagination. Botz assembled a really diverse and well-rounded group of musicians to give these compositions some life, and the chemistry between the players sounds and feels genuine from start to finish here. Even though he’s presently making a name for himself as a lyricist, this guy is a startlingly adept arranger, and has constructed quite a masterpiece in this single considering his limited background.
An amazing offering from a truly gifted pen, “Teddy Bear” is exactly what 2019 needed to get going on the right foot, and as far as I’m concerned, it introduces the world to one of the most intriguing and thoughtful songwriters to hit the scene in the last half decade. Some critics have said that country music’s decline in marketability will only get worse over the next few years, but with Tommy Botz around, something tells me that might change significantly. He’s got an unforgettable presence, and though he’s traveled many roads to reach this point, his story is far from over.
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