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“Urban Cowboy” by Glenn Valles

Straightforward country music as we’ve always known it is a thing of the past and bold moves are required to make an impact on the genre’s modern international scene. Glenn Valles knows this, and with his new single “Urban Cowboy,” he’s taking us into a new era for country music that is cultivated more around sterling melodies than it is lyrical content or passive beats. The Americana of old is still very much at the foundation of this piece, but Valles isn’t settling for stock rhythm and familiar rhymes; he’s putting a lot into the depth of the music here, which is a nice break from what a lot of his contemporaries have been trying lately.

There’s a lot of heat to the fiddle part in this mix, but it doesn’t overpower the guitar or the lead vocal. Glenn Valles has a smoky voice that injects the main harmony with a rusticity that initially feels almost too melodic for its own good in this situation, but ultimately it adds to the classic feel of the hook. The only real retro element in “Urban Cowboy” is its climax; everything else here is fresh and pulsating behind this singer, whose delivery is spot-on in my book.

The chorus allows for Valles to sound a bit like a young Garth Brooks without the swagger, and I think the hesitance is an important influence on how we interpret the main narrative here. He’s resistant to admit to the truth of these lyrics, the ache of watching a generational divide in the traditional country framework of family and music the same, and yet he’s embodying so much of the push outward from conventionality that the irony of his verses isn’t lost on even the deafest of critics. I like his charisma, and it’s a key point of interest in this single.

I love the lyrical punch that Valles is giving every one of these verses, and you can tell he’s been singing for the better part of his life when he steps into the hook as hard as he does. His is a talent you can’t teach so much as you can grow into it, and from the looks of what he does in “Urban Cowboy,” he’s close to full capacity as both a lyricist and a vocalist, especially when he’s got the steady groove he has in this performance to work with.

His potent execution alone makes “Urban Cowboy” a worthwhile listen, but I’m not kidding when I say that we can expect a lot more content of a high caliber from Glenn Valles in the future. He hits all the right notes in this performance and creates an invitational vibe with his melodies that has been missing from a lot of mainstream country music as of late, and if he’s able to utilize this ability a bit more in the future then he’s going to have an easy time getting out of the background and into the spotlight of a new and more versatile Nashville.

Mindy McCall



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