Drake Jensen’s powerhouse turn on his new single “Talk Me Down” will remain in my memory for some time to come. I am blown away by the full hearted sincerity he brings to a song he didn’t even write and believe it solidifies his position as one of the best vocalists working within the country tradition today – and dare I say one of the best vocalists working in popular music today. This guy’s name needs to be spread far and wide. Jensen has the rare talent for melding dynamite pipes with evocative phrasing, never sacrificing one to fuel the other, and this first single from his new album release Sideshow is a reminder of his talents for those already familiar with his work while also serving as a first rate introduction for those just becoming acquainted with his music.
It isn’t a put on either. There’s no point during this song when you will think Jensen strikes a false note or the band serves up bland accompaniment. “Talk Me Down” may not be the most jovial tune you will hear this year, to be sure, but there’s an inspired energy percolating through the entirety of this tune that’s difficult if not impossible to deny. The guitar solo in the song’s second half caps this inspired tone off with a precise, yet melodic, guitar solo that never feels like it is tacked on for good measure. Instead, it strikes me as a natural outgrowth of the song and quite fitting.
The emotional tenor of that guitar solo is well in keeping with the lyrics. “Talk Me Down” is wrenching and a little confrontational. The song faces its narrator’s mood head on, eschews short cuts and clichés, and depicts the desperation of a broken heart with the kind of clarity we don’t often hear from songs of this type. It isn’t necessarily a “kiss off” song but, instead, more emotional testimony about a particularly stormy patch of internal weather following a breakup. The song’s video suggests that this breakup may be temporary, but the song, on its own, holds out no such hope. It comes off as an impassioned plea for help based on its lyric content alone and portrays a first person narrator teetering on the edge of a full break down.
The running time of a little over three minutes is perfect for the song and it further spotlights Jensen’s talents that such a relatively short track can pack such punch. Drake Jensen knows how to incorporate an entire world within a condensed setting and he emerges from the track fully fleshed out for listeners rather than coming off as a disembodied vocalist two steps or more removed from his material. “Talk Me Down” will mean different things to different people, but anyone listening to this track will definitely agree that the cumulative effects of the tune set it apart from the vast majority of similar tracks and Jensen stands a cut above many of his peers. I am eager to hear the remainder of Sideshow after hearing this song and I am convinced many others will as well.
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