Richie Fields – “Losing You”
Songwriters: Wynn Varble and Gerald Smith
On his new single, “Losing You,” Richie Fields sounds like he could pass for Conway Twitty–if the late legend had ever taken a turn as an over-enunciating musical theater star with a flair for the dramatic. It’s a shame, too, because the tune is an interesting twist on the losin’ and leavin’ themes so prevalent in country music.
Here, “losing you” applies both to both spotty cell phone coverage and a failing romantic relationship. Although it’s his fourth stab at country radio after debut “Man Enough To Cry” and subsequent singles “Devil in the Mirror” and “When You Love Someone That Much” failed to produce, this time around Fields is not lacking decent material.
Lyrics like “Heard you mention breakin’ up/I hope you meant the phone…/All I heard was call me back/Was there a ‘don’t’ in front of that?” manage to avoid the corniness of your favorite cell phone carrier commercial, although it’s apparent songwriters Wynn Varble (“Waiting on a Woman,” “Have You Forgotten?”) and Gerald Smith (a.k.a. the “Georgia Quacker” from Hee Haw) aren’t Verizon customers, since “Can You Hear Me Now?” didn’t win out as the hook.
Despite being a likable song, however, Fields’ melodramatic delivery and its overbearing production add unneeded weight to an already heavy-handed tune. The subject matter is so seriously conveyed through the singer’s delivery that it comes across almost like a Shakespearean monologue set to steel guitar.
Those production choices manage to effectively drown out whatever creativity the songwriters imprinted on the lyrics, warranting a second playback of the tune for all the wrong reasons: Gems like opener ”Hey baby can you hear me/Damn this old cell phone” and ”Heard you mention breaking up/I hope you meant the phone” are easy to miss underneath all the noise.
Despite making the CMA’s “Who New To Watch In 2009” list and garnering a blurb in Country Weekly’s “Who’s New” feature over the last few months, the Maryland native still hasn’t made it onto many country fans’ radars. Stripped down a layer or two, “Losing You” could be a solid song in the hands of laid-back singers such as George Strait or Alan Jackson. Unfortunately, stifled by Fields’ overeager yet forgettable performance, it’s a little too easy to understand why the lover of the song’s protagonist feels like she just had to get away.
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