Heavenly guitar-born harmonies are caressed by a gentle country beat in the new single “Western Son” from Corey Stapleton & The Pretty Pirates, currently out everywhere quality country-pop is sold and streamed, but cosmetics aren’t the only reason to give this track a shot. Stylized with an almost ethereal lead vocal that breathes vitality into every rich verse it sings, “Western Son” is a very inviting country ballad that seems to go out of its way to follow more of a sensible pop construct than it ever does anything in the contemporary Nashville sphere.
Quality-wise, it doesn’t get much better than this – straight string play and legitimate vocal moxie combine to make what could be one of the most stirring indie country harmonies I’ve listened to in the better part of the last year here, and although “Western Son” isn’t built atop another concept in the genre, there’s certainly an aesthetical link between the simplicity of this piece and the minimalistic feel of the retro western music a lot of us grew up with. This isn’t a look back at the past so much as it’s a tribute to what laid the groundwork for the future, and when considering what a lot of the competition has been turning in over the last few years, it’s quite the gem indeed.
The country themes in this single are always made equal to the key pop element in the verses, which isn’t to say that Stapleton sounds like he’s singing to the wrong audience. Instead, I think there’s something really special to be said about the way he’s bringing stout pop influences into the booth with him without rejecting the classic country ethos that he’s creating so much of his persona around.
His vocal is central to our understanding and appreciating almost every facet of this song, and scarcely is there a moment in which his singing isn’t doing something to put a filter over the words (though it’s definitely on the positive side). Rhythm is made not only to progress the emotional narrative, but to reinforce the seriousness of everything being said into the microphone, and that’s not something I’m always able to say about the country music I review these days.
Although I only found out about Corey Stapleton & The Pretty Pirates just recently, ahead of this single’s official drop date last week, I have a strong feeling that this isn’t going to be the lone occasion on which I’m listening to and reviewing his latest release. Stapleton is the kind of singer who doesn’t have to try particularly hard to have immense control over the harmony, no matter where it’s starting or ending, and this is exactly the kind of composition he needs to produce in order to show the world his best talents, up close and personally.
He’s got a stylishness that I could get into on a regular basis, and for those who love swinging classic country with a slightly modern edge on the melodic front, you can’t go wrong with “Western Son” right now.
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