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.
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