Well, it’s been a while since I wrote a music review. It’s not that there’s been a lack of content for me to cover or anything. It’s just that sometimes it’s difficult for me to phone it in when it comes to recommendations. For me, writing about music has to be honest as an artist is creating it. In many ways, if someone encourages another to listen to a record and they’re not being honest about it, it’s a disservice to the artist as well as the art! That particular brand of honesty feels like the framework for Soul Step Records‘ Footprint series. More specifically, the latest installment of that series. This edition features Timbo and Zelly and their tracks How Much Did It Cost? and American Dream.
Timbo opens How Much Did It Cost? with that very question with an ominous, all-knowing demeanor.
Despite holding no punches calling out politicians or the 2%, Timbo’s vocal delivery says more about his desire to change the state of the country instead of burning it to the ground. As a life-long resident of Nashville, there’s no question Timbo has seen the heart of the country change for the worst. While showcasing blues-stomps, angelic backing vocals (provided by Lillie Mae and Sierra Ferrel, respectively), and teeth-rattling acoustic guitar, How Much Did It Cost? is the battle cry not many country artists are willing to present.
California-born Nashville native, Zelly tackles a similar topic from a different perspective.
On the surface, American Dream is a vulnerable folk ballad that would make Carly Simon swoon. But with further inspection, Zelly has society pegged. The gaslighting, the hypocrisy, the manipulation, all in the pursuit of the American dream. I’m sure all of us could debate as to what that dream consists of these days. However, the duality of heartbreak speaks volumes about Zelly’s confidence in artistry. The longing and crack during the chorus sound as if her vocal cords are attached to her very heart. This is also something lack in many, if not all mainstream compositions.
And it always goes back to that honesty, doesn’t it?
The second I received a package from Soul Step Records in the mail, I knew the latest installment of the Footprint series was going to be special. This small but strong label has released some of the most interesting records in the indie music scene, but there’s just something about this series that really just hits home. I feel these songs more than I hear them and if that doesn’t inspire me to write my feelings down in a document, I don’t know what could.
Timbo/Zelly – How Much Did It Cost?/American Dream is now available on limited edition vinyl at Soul Step Records.