A slight change in direction for Payton Howie who has been on the TEAMw21 radar for a while now with a number of punchy rocking singles such as "Troublemaker" or "Never Go Home"
The new single "Country Before Me" sees Payton with a more mandolin laden sound, as she pays tribute to some of the people that trailblazed before her. Joining a number of song titles together to make something new is an established songwriters exercise, however it only really works if you've got something to say at the end of the process and if you have a decent tune to attach it to.
Fortunately Payton is a winner on both counts, the tune. mainly a modern sounding combination of mandolin, pedal steel and jangly electric guitars form an ideal background for Payton to take us down memory lane, with the normally annoying clicking staying relatively unobtrusive. Always the possessor of a formidable vocal, this setting allows her to perform without having to supply larger than life vocals required for some of her previous singles and it gives a sense of believability to the chorus of
"Guitars were steel and I still feel
Every crying note they sing - standing in that Opry ring"
The song acknowledges a time when
"We knew their lives through the stories on the radio" and therefore
"We wore coats of many colours, crazy and coal miner's daughters
We were country when it wasn't cool
Don't it make you brown eyes blue
We were just two sparrows in a hurricane"
It might only be a temporary diversion and Payton may well return to her more rowdy edgier ways but this single certainly gives us a glimpse into another facet of her performing abilities
"Country Before Me" along with "Never Go Home" will form part of Payton's debut EP "Youngblood" due for release in February