“Why do I, always try, to run away from you?” Brett Eldredge asked on his 2017 self-titled album. At the time, the closer, “Castaway” was the most vulnerable he had ever gotten with fans. On his latest release Sunday Drive, out today, July 10th, Eldredge has stopped running from himself and embraced everything he used to shy away from. Lyrically, sonically and personally, this is Eldredge’s bravest piece of work.
The opener is the overwhelmingly joyous “Where The Heart Is”, co-written by Eldredge, Jessie Jo Dillon, and Tyler Johnson. The acoustic guitar is folksy and the soaring strings and harmonies add an extra layer of depth. “Where’d you lose your sense of wonder? / The firework goin’ off in your head / ’Cause there was a time we weren’t thinkin’, we were flyin’ / We were alive / I wanna feel alive.” Next is “The One You Need” which follows the same energy. It’s in the same vein as “Love Is A Wild Thing” by Kacey Musgraves – it’s ethereal in its sound and lyrically, about finding a love you can trust.
Eldredge collaborated with Ian Fichituk and Daniel Tashian, who are responsible for projects like Musgraves’ Golden Hour, Little Big Town’s Nightfall, and their band, Skyline Motel’s After Dark. “I couldn’t imagine having created this album with anyone other than Ian and Daniel, who are both incredible and so musically inclined,” Eldredge stated in a press release. “I’ve always wanted to have more space for my voice, not only vocally but also lyrically, and they provided a way for me to do that with this beautiful music. Collaborating with them helped take this album to wonderfully different places, introducing me to a unique sound that is unlike any of my other records.”
Songs like “Fall For Me” and “Then You Do” are two of the more starry-eyed, poppy vibes on the project, while tracks like “Magnolia”, “When I Die”, and “Fix a Heart” lean on the Americana/Triple A-side. Eldredge’s love of indie-pop, traditional country, and swing jazz are sprinkled in each song differently. Sometimes it’s through a slide guitar or a brush drum, or through the storytelling and powerful vocal delivery. No matter the track, everything remains cohesive.
“I knew I had to do things differently this time, so I threw caution to the wind and got away from all that I was comfortable with in order to go deeper,” Eldredge said. “I didn’t even listen to the radio for a year because I didn’t want to know what music somebody else was making. Not because I don’t care, but because I had to figure out what I needed to say for myself. By making sure I wasn’t being influenced by anything other than what my heart was saying, I was able to write what I wanted to, which was important. Recording this album ended up being the most powerful thing I’ve ever been a part of.”
“Sunday Drive”, the title track and the only song that Eldredge didn’t have a hand in writing, and closer “Paris, Illinois”, are beautifully cinematic and atmospheric. Eldredge’s love of the blue-eyed soul is at it’s most prominent, and you can hear the emotion in his voice telling the story. “And that’s where I learned it all, from them / To fight, to love, to laugh again / Man, I thought we were only wasting time / Out on a Sunday drive”. Eldredge grew up in a map-dot town, but it doesn’t matter where you’re from or who you are; these stories are universal, and a reminder of how much we share in common. “Paris, Illinois”, is truly a musical moment. The minute-long outro feels like the end of an old-school black-and-white movie, where there’s a convertible going down the road in slow motion. It’s as if the credits are rolling, and you can take in the whole picture that is Sunday Drive. It’s reflective and classic, which is exactly what the album is.
“You have to give yourself permission to do anything in life, to be brave a little bit,” Eldredge explained. “I got to a certain point where I felt like I wasn’t giving enough of myself and it took a lot of self-awareness to finally realize that if I do have more in me, then I’ve got to step up and take that step off the edge.”
Eldredge did more than just take that step off the edge. He opened his heart, jumped, and took a chance that resulted in this timeless album. In 50 years, when people talk about Brett Eldredge, this is the record they’ll remember. It’s not about radio airplay or hit chasing. It’s about taking the long way down a road until you know where you’re going. He held on to these messages and songs for a long time, and it may have taken 7 years and a few detours, but Brett Eldredge has finally arrived.
SUNDAY DRIVE TRACKLIST
1. Where the Heart Is – Brett Eldredge, Jessie Jo Dillon, Tyler Johnson
2. The One You Need – Brett Eldredge, Jessie Jo Dillon, Matt Rogers
3. Magnolia – Brett Eldredge, Scooter Carusoe
4. Crowd My Mind – Brett Eldredge, Ross Copperman
5. Good Day – Brett Eldredge, Daniel Tashian, Ian Fitchuk
6. Fall For Me – Brett Eldredge, Daniel Tashian, Ian Fitchuk
7. Sunday Drive – Barry Dean, Don Mescall, Steve Robson
8. When I Die – Brett Eldredge, Daniel Tashian, Ian Fitchuk
9. Gabrielle – Brett Eldredge, Daniel Tashian, Ian Fitchuk
10. Fix A Heart – Brett Eldredge, Scooter Carusoe
11. Then You Do – Brett Eldredge, Scooter Carusoe
12. Paris Illinois – Brett Eldredge, Daniel Tashian, Ian Fitchuk
NYCS Staff Picks:
Where The Heart Is
Then You Do
The One You Need
Fall For Me
‘Sunday Drive’ 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.
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