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“I’m Not Well” by Shane Britt  

In “I’m Not Well,” the new single from singer/songwriter Shane Britt, blue-collar country (a strain slightly more traditional than what we’ve been seeing out of this new wave in Americana over the past year) meets disciplined lyricism for what could be one of the best fusions of 2023. Written with heart over conceptualism, “I’m Not Well” starts slow but quickly morphs into a fully-engaging, relentlessly heavy piece that could make even the most discriminating of listeners into a fan of this brand of country music. The instrumentation contributes as much to the narrative as any of the lyrics do in this track, and while that’s essentially on par with what fans should expect in a new release in 2023, it’s, unfortunately, becoming a bit of a rare treasure this month.  

The mild tension that we encounter in the buildup of the chorus in this track is unexpected in the wake of the rather pendulous introduction, but it nevertheless makes the chorus even more cathartic than it already would have been. I get the idea that Shane Britt wanted to maximize the emotionality in this song through multiple avenues, and in spreading out the melodic charm across the instrumentation and vocals, it’s all the more difficult to avoid the passionate blows coming through the speakers. It’s a little calculated compared to a lot of the other pop music out right now, but that’s perhaps what makes “I’m Not Well” such an interesting single this July. It’s complicated but not quite over the top, which is a tough middle ground for even the most talented of players to find.  

There isn’t a lot of percussive presence in this song, but I think that I can understand why. The string strumming creates a nice little ebbtide in the rhythm that guides the vocal through the chorus rather sweetly, and in avoiding any crashing cymbals or bombastic breakdowns behind the drums, the harmonies are allowed to act as the sonic centerpiece they were always meant to be in “I’m Not Well.” Shane Britt is a man of many talents, and that much is very obvious when listening to this brand-new single, but by steering clear of anything too over-the-top here, he makes it easier to fall in love with what he conceived in this single.

I wasn’t familiar with Shane Britt before sitting down with “I’m Not Well” just recently, but I’m looking forward to hearing more from his camp as he finds a footing in the ever-expanding underground circuit. A man who has not one layer to his artistry but more than a few, Britt has a lot of potential to do different things with his sound, but here, I love how vulnerable and unfiltered he’s willing to be with the audience – much in a way that many of his rivals would never be capable of. His is a story that is still unfolding before us all, and in time, I think it’s going to take him out of the shadows and into the spotlight to stay.  

Mindy McCall  



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