Gwen Sebastian – “Hard Rain”

Sam Gazdziak | November 4th, 2009

gwen-sebastian-hard-rain Songwriters: Jason Jones & Brett Jones.

One of country music’s greatest strengths is its realism. All the joys, sorrows and experiences of life are presented right there, on country radio, in a manner to which everyone can relate. For example, everyone I know who’s from a small, backwoods hick town constantly waxes poetic about general stores and church on Sunday. Women are free to vandalize their ex’s cars (or their ex) without consequence. And if I had a dollar for every time some old man I met in a bar left me his fortune, I could leave a fortune to some stranger I met at a bar.

A couple of similarly realistic scenarios are played out in “Hard Rain” by Lofton Creek artist Gwen Sebastian, but the happy endings are non-existent. When compared to other sad songs from recent memory, this one takes a little different approach–instead of being a dreary balled, it’s a sprightly uptempo tune that favors the fiddle over a whole string section. Instead of draping on the maudlin sentiment, the song deals frankly with its characters, the choices they made and the consequences therein. As the song goes, hearts break, and a hard rain washes out a gravel road. The singer who leaves his love behind to seek his fortune and the girl who gives up her baby aren’t portrayed as bad people, nor do they have a tacked-on redemption. They just made their decisions and are left to deal with the repercussions, months or years down the road. Anyone who’s ventured out into the real world has been there.

Sebastian has a radio-friendly voice, yet there’s just enough of an edge to it to give it some character and separate herself from other singers making a play for airtime. Though she’s working from a disadvantage of being on a record label (Lofton Creek) that has yet to compile more than a handful of success, she’s got a smartly written song and solid vocals. That’s not a guarantee of a smash hit, but it’s a good start.

Thumbs Up

  1. Thomas
    November 4, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    …congratulations on your first hit, ms. sebastian. this is a near perfect mainstream effort.

  2. Rick
    November 4, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    This song and Gwen’s voice are so generic by today’s radio standards this single just might work, but I highly doubt it. With Sarah Buxton having to claw her way up the charts one position at a time with an infectiously catchy tune like “Outside My Window” (even with a radio tour and big label support behind her), I don’t see how Gwen will gain any traction at major market stations with this song. Those smaller market stations that spin tracks from new artists off CDX CD’s might bite, but their chart impact is negligible.

    Gwen will probably join the ranks of other talented, newer female artists from small labels trying to break the radio barrier such as Katie Armiger and Emma Jacob, and will likely experience about as much success. My reference standard for female artists that should have made it and didn’t is Amber Dotson, and Gwen doesn’t even come close to Amber’s vocal abilities. Sheesh…

  3. Betty Langford
    November 5, 2009 at 8:01 am

    I disagree with you Rick. Gwen has a fantastic voice similar to Heidi Nuefeld. She has so much energy and talent. Before too long she will be a great success, surpassing other female artists.

    Gwen you Rock!!!!

    Betty Langford- Perry Florida

  4. Meg
    November 5, 2009 at 8:35 am

    I respect opinions, but Rick, you’re WAY off here! It’s too bad you don’t recognize great talent!

  5. Maria elizabeth Gremore
    November 5, 2009 at 8:41 am

    Well done and deserved. May all of your hard work and dedication become a standard to measured by.

    Your ever expanding fan base LOVES you!

    Gwen you and your band are the BEST!

    Maria & Kim

  6. Frozenphan
    November 5, 2009 at 10:26 am

    I loved this song. Sounds just like an old Pam Tillis tune might.

  7. Jiggity
    November 5, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Wow Rick, way to show your industry bitterness hoss!! Nothing against Katie, Emma, and Amber, but they couldn’t eat the dirt off the bottom of Gwen Sebastian’s shoes when it comes to SINGING, PERFORMING, and/or WRITING!!! The music business if full of people like you who make it hard for great artists like Sarah Buxton and Gwen to make it in this business b/c of your sour, sorry attitude towards new music/artists, and the fact that you actually think YOUR opinion about music counts. Do us all a favor and stay underneath that rock you crawled out from under, and keep your negativity to yourself. Oh and check your facts while you’re under there; you don’t know a thing about Gwen if you think she’s generic.

  8. Kris H
    November 6, 2009 at 10:23 am

    We opened for the first credited songwriter, Jason Jones, in Grand Rapids last month, and sitting back by the bar listening, this song really grabbed my attention. Jason is signed to Warner Bros., and is a helluva talent on his own. Glad to see a song of his getting some spin from another artist.

    Google him, dude can sing.

  9. J.R. Journey
    November 6, 2009 at 10:56 am

    I’m a sucker for up-tempo melodies with forlorn lyrics. Great song.

  10. Jon
    November 9, 2009 at 3:05 am

    I kind of agree with Rick on this one. While the lyrics by Mr. Jones and Mr. Jones are sophisticated words of wisdom that tell a story in the vein of traditional country music, Gwen’s vocals and the somehow strange production severely limit the song’s impact for me. Also, as Rick pointed out, unless she’s on a nationwide would-be talent show, it’s frustratingly difficult for most female artists to break into country music these days, and it’s doubtful that this song is going to do that for Gwen given the current state of both the radio and the song itself. But best of luck. Sometimes the way things go can surprise you.

  11. saromey walker
    December 2, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    I’m sorry rick but with all do respect you sound like a complete arrigant jerk!!This song is amazing,the first time i herd it,it caught my attention.You can completly relate to this song, its real life. If you listen to it,and allow it to come into your heart you will find that the lyrics arnt just words!! THEY COULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN SOMEONES LIFE!!I think you need to open your mind and OPEN YOUR HEART.QUIT BEING SUCH A TIGHT WOD!!
    i’M ONLY 16 AND I DONT KNOW EVERYTHING, BUT IVE WENT MY WHOLE LIFE WITH DISCOURAGING WORDS!!! Ive learned that people can do anything they put there heart into!! Ive proved that after all thats happened im still alive!!!

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