Kameron Marlowe: ‘Keepin’ The Lights On’ – Album Review

Kameron Marlowe shares album, Keepin’ The Lights On, out now, May 31st, on all streaming platforms. Listen to the brand new project below.

With a powerfully deep baritone that immediately grabs a listener’s attention, Kameron Marlowe is ready to make a statement. His sophomore album, Keepin’ The Lights On, is the followup to 2022’s We Were Cowboys, and it’s truly a jump forward in musicianship, lyrics, and subject matter.

Produced by Dann Huff, the collection features 16 new songs, 7 of which were co-penned by Marlowe. “When I was thinking about this project, I really wanted to say something beyond break-up songs and love songs,” shares the North Carolina native. “I wanted to throw life songs in there as well. These are all real things that I’ve gone through, and there’s a lot of pain, there’s a lot of love. It really tells the story of these past two years.”

One such moment comes in the form of the poignant, “I Can Run,” which finds the singer-songwriter trying to outrun his vices. Here, he’s at his lowest, admitting that “I can’t outrun myself,” as he returns to his sense of self.  “I had some low spots, and I had to find myself again,” Marlowe says. “And it felt like I lived every word to that song,”

Equally poignant is “On My Way Out,” which finds the Columbia Nashville artist grappling with his own mortality and what life will be like at its end. Here, he stretches himself vocally, his passionate voice soaring above the music in what may be his best performance on the album.

“And I hope the road to heaven is backed up to my hometown // And I get to hug the ones I love on my last lap around // I wanna redo all the regrets and relive all the times // I took for granted in this good Lord-handed life of mine // Yeah, only God knows when // Yeah, but there ain’t no doubt // That’s how I wanna make my way in…On my way out”

“Never Really Know” was a turning point for the artist when making the album. “That song fired me up so much, because it was so personal and so special, and something that I hadn’t written before,” he says of the song that reminds us not to think we know what’s going on in other’s lives. “That really started shaping this album to be what it was. It’s almost a folky kind of production, which really made the lyrics shine and made you want to keep listening to the story — that was a challenging thing to do, but probably the most rewarding once we finally got it right.” 

There are fun moments here, including the roaring album opener “911,” which is a 90’s-tinted stomper, perfect for a honky tonk. Likewise, “Lock Me Up” is a swampy and gritty ode to his hometown, that he cleverly compares to a prison. “Don’t ever set me free, lock me up in a small town,He growls. “Yeah, throw away the key.”

Marlowe examines new love on songs like the romantic “Leaning On You,” the ethereal “Quit You,”  and the Marc Broussard-esque “Nothin’ Slowin’ Us Down.” While the latter is a bluesy and sexy midtempo, “Will It Be There in the Morning” is a stunningly sweet and sparse ballad.  The song starts with his emotive voice over a lone acoustic guitar before building into a musical love letter, punctuated with gorgeous female background vocals. “Will it be there in the morning or will we just get this one night?” He asks, voice laced with hope. “Either way I’m gonna love you, like it’s my first and my last time”

Of “Quit You,” Marlowe reveals that it was somewhat of a bridge between a current and previous relationship. “I wanted to start ‘Quit You’ by rehashing that, because ‘Quit You’ is the ending chapter of that book for me. I finally found the love that I was looking for. People get hopeless about relationships and stuff like that, and I was that way, too — I thought I was hopeless, but then my fiancée came along, so I wanted to make sure that I included that piece by using those same lines.”

That heartbreak is evident on songs like “One That I Don’t Call,” “High Hopes,” “Smaller,” and “Strangers.” On “One That I Don’t Call,” he’s desperate to wipe someone’s number from his mind, singing “I know I should forget it, ‘Cause we don’t talk at all,  I know that number pretty well for one that I don’t call.” Likewise, “High Hopes” is a moving ballad that has him optimistic but realistic about moving on after a breakup. “I’ve got high hopes but low expectations, my glass is half empty and that old county station is playing our songs and it’s hurting just right,” He croons. “I’ve got low expectations but my hopes are high.”

“Strangers” with Ella Langley is a surefire hit, exemplifying the classic country duet as the pair trades verses over their shared heartbreak and the fact that they’re bad for each other.

“We can’t be friends, we can’t be lovers // We can’t be weekend drinking, leaning on each another // We can’t be falling off the wagon // Talking ’bout what happened // Where does that leave you and me? // There’s too much love // There’s too much anger // We can’t be friends and we can’t be strangers // We can’t be strangers”

While many artists save filler tracks for the latter half of the album, there’s none of that here as Marlowe shines on “Broke Down in a Truck” and the LP’s title track, “Keepin’ The Lights On.” While the former is your atypical truck song, written like a love letter to his trusty vehicle for all it’s seen him through, the latter is a sparse ballad about all of the sacrifices his family made while he was growing up and those he makes to pursue his dream.

“My family was never rich, we’ve always just made it by,” he shares of his inspiration for the tune. “And for the first time ever, I saw my dad kind of be humbled when he lost his job of almost 20 years working in a magnet factory. He came to me and was like, ‘Man, I really don’t know how I’m gonna keep the lights on.’”

While Kameron Marlowe may have been through a lot to find his way to his sophomore album, the offering is a solid mix of introspection, love, heartbreak, and hope  that is sure to be keeping the lights on brightly for years to come.

Keepin’ The Lights On Track List:

  1. 911 (Wyatt McCubbin/John Pierce/Micah Wilshire)
  2. Nothin’ Slowin’ Us Down (Kameron Marlowe/Mitchell Tenpenny/Rob Williford/Dallas Wilson)
  3. On My Way Out (Michael Hardy/Ben Johnson/Hunter Phelps/Taylor Phillips/Bobby Pinson)
  4. Never Really Know (Kameron Marlowe/James McNair)
  5. Tennessee Don’t Mind (Charles Kelley/Daniel Tashian)
  6. Leaning On You (Kameron Marlowe/Erik Dylan/Wyatt McCubbin/Taylor Phillips)
  7. I Can Run (Tucker Beathard/Oscar Charles Gnaedig/Ben Roberts)
  8. High Hopes (Josh Osborne/Trevor Rosen/Brad Tursi)
  9. One That I Don’t Call (Wyatt McCubbin/James McNair/John Pierce)
  10. Lock Me Up (Ben Johnson/Jordan Minton/Hunter Phelps/Taylor Phillips)
  11. Will It Be There in the Morning (Kameron Marlowe/Mitchell Tenpenny/Dallas Wilson)
  12. Quit You (Kameron Marlowe/James McNair/John Pierce)
  13. Smaller (Erik Dylan/Wyatt McCubbin)
  14. Strangers (with Ella Langley) (Kameron Marlowe/Ella Langley/Will Bundy/Chase McGill)
  15. Broke Down in a Truck (Taylor Baynum/Nathan Justis/Dave Michael/Colby Williford)
  16. Keepin’ The Lights On (Kameron Marlowe/Kendell Marvel/Phil O’Donnell)

Country Swag Picks:

  1. On My Way Out
  2. Will It Be There in the Morning
  3. 911
  4. Never Really Know

Kameron Marlowe shares new album, ‘Keepin’ The Lights On,’ out now on all streaming platforms.

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Keepin’ The Lights On is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.