The origins of rock music are as epic and historically diverse as the fabric of the North American continent itself, and I think Cody Jasper was thinking about this when he was making his new single “Who You Are.” While Jasper has a voice that was made for singing country songs, his aesthetics in this single are suggestive of a much heavier rock sound that he can offer up with just as much relatability as he would a classic country jam.
The balladic elements of this performance are striking and inviting, and better yet they don’t sound even remotely depressing in this fusion-inspired setting. When we’ve got the verses nestled between the strings as tightly as they are in this piece, there’s a seamlessness between music and lyrics that is becoming too difficult to find on a consistent basis in the underground at the moment, especially in the rock and country genres. I don’t know for sure if this singer/songwriter wants to sit one side of the aisle over another, but from the looks of what he’s turned in here, he’s more than happy riding the delicate space in between.
“Who You Are” feels so big and bulging in spots, but the funny thing is that there’s really nothing indulgent comprising its best moments. The most stimulating element of the track is the continuity of the music, which has not been true of the majority of country-rock singles I’ve been hearing this year, and while this is a Jasper solo song, it doesn’t feel totally vocal-centric in the least. If anything, this is a piece that doesn’t need a lot of bass, drums, or even spicy guitar componentry to get us engaged with the pushiness of the material, which is telling of the energy that Cody Jasper can bring to a performance all by himself.
The percussion could have been a lot louder and more prominent here and still given us just as much of a chills factor as we get in this incarnation of “Who You Are,” but it also makes a lot of sense why it was left on the conservative side. If guitar-driven tonalities were to get the vast amount of attention they get in this mix, there couldn’t be a competitive drum element as cluttering would have ruined the vocal this singer features with such ease.
To me, Cody Jasper makes this single more about his integrity as a composer than he does the virtuosity of his studio abilities, and I applaud the effort he’s put into even the smallest of intricacies to behold in “Who You Are.” His music has been intriguing to me for the last few years, but this is a much greater and more aggressive stab at the rock model than what I’ve heard from him previously. He’s serious about bringing all of the most angular influences in his sound to the surface of any given performance, and that’s why what we get in “Who You Are” feels as one of a kind as it does regardless of the play count.
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