2020 has been one of the most turbulent years in history. Between a pandemic, civil unrest, and natural disasters, it seems like it’s never-ending. With all the chaos comes clarity, though, and Mickey Guyton, one of country music’s best vocalists, has used her voice in every way, which resulted in her fantastic new EP, Bridges, out today, September 11th.
The current single and project opener, “Heaven Down Here” is the perfect song for uncertain times. The track was written by Guyton, and legends Gordie Sampson, Josh Kear, and Hilary Lindsay. Guyton spends the verses speaking to God, asking him to send a little light down to Earth. It’s the kind of anthem everyone wants to hear right now.
“If you got a little love/Left in your back pocket/Rain it down like pennies/In this wishing well of tears/I know that you’re busy/But if you could hear me talking/We could use a little more heaven down here,” Guyton sings hopefully on the chorus.
The title track “Bridges” captures the feeling of hope similarly to “Heaven Down Here”, but from a different lens. Guyton is not only a talented singer and songwriter, but she is constantly using her platform to lift other women up and to speak on topics that move her.
“Gonna need more than prayers and wishes to build those bridges, bridges, bridges/It’s gonna take way more work to fix it, gotta build those bridges.”
Sonically, it feels distinctly pop country, but has Gospel undertones that make Guyton’s voice particularly shine. There are fun moments like “Rosé” and “Salt” that showcase Guyton’s effortless charm and mystique. “Rosé” is a front-porch-sipping type of track, whereas “Salt” is like a leather jacket and a red lip. Both have completely different vibes and show even more sides to who Guyton is as a person and artist.
“Two years ago, this project didn’t feel like it was even a possibility,” shares Guyton. “This EP proves that in your darkest moments, you can have your biggest breakthroughs. I think back to all of the obstacles in my life and career, including writing and recording most of this EP in quarantine during a time of social unrest, and how it has all led to the birth of this beautiful project. I hope these songs provide others with the same happiness and strength they have provided me in these uncertain times.”
“What Are You Gonna Tell Her” is an absolute show stopper of a song. The introduction is haunting; the sound of a toy piano before Guyton’s precise vocal delivery comes in. “She thinks love is love and if/You work hard, that’s enough/Skin’s just skin and it doesn’t matter,” she sings softly on the first verse. As each verse builds, her voice gets louder and stronger with more intent. “And that her friend’s older brother’s gonna keep his hands to himself/And that somebody’s gon’ believe her when she tells/But what are you gonna tell her?/When she’s wrong?” Guyton states this so plain and simple, and perhaps that’s part of what makes it so heartbreaking. Because it’s the definition of three chords and the truth.
Finally, the EP closes with the critically acclaimed “Black Like Me”, a song equally catchy and thought-provoking. Released during the start of the protests in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, Guyton tells her story of being a Black person living in America. “I’m an adult. I’m a woman going through real shit – and my life isn’t light and fluffy,” she said in a press release. “Black Like Me” covers that side of Guyton; the side that faces the truth, even when it hurts.
Mickey Guyton is one of those rare artists who you know you’re lucky to be listening to their music in real-time. She has so much to say – and she says it well. Guyton freed herself from the chains of country radio, so she could figure out exactly how to use her voice. And once she did that, nothing could hold her back anymore, as heard on Bridges. “I realize the power in truth and love, the power in your voice,” she says. “What you do with it, is up to you.”
Bridges Track Listing:
“Heaven Down Here”* (Mickey Guyton, Gordie Sampson, Josh Kear, Hillary Lindsey)
“Bridges”* (Mickey Guyton, Karen Kosowski, Victoria Banks, Emma-Lee)
“What Are You Gonna Tell Her?”* (Mickey Guyton, Karen Kosowski, Victoria Banks, Emma-Lee)
“Rosé”** (Mickey Guyton, Victoria Banks, Karen Kosowski)
“Salt”* (Mickey Guyton, Jesse Frasure, Cary Barlowe, Steven Lee Olsen)
“Black Like Me”+ (Mickey Guyton, Nathan Chapman, Fraser Churchill, Emma Davidson-Dillon)
*Produced by Karen Kosowski
**Produced by Karen Kosowki and Forest Whitehead
+Produced by Nathan Chapman and Forest Whitehead
NYCS Staff Picks:
- “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?”
- “Black Like Me”
‘Bridges’ 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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