“Western Son” by Corey Stapleton & The Pretty Pirates
Easy-going melodies aren’t all that hard to find in country music these days given the influx of amazing talent coming out of the American underground amidst the pandemic, but that said, “Western Son” by Corey Stapleton & The Pretty Pirates is most definitely full of a gem or two you won’t want to miss. Structurally speaking, “Western Son” isn’t even the most adventurous single on the market right now – what makes it such a dime piece is its brooding harmonies, unassumingly vulnerable lyricism and, more than anything else, the spirit its singer puts into every verse it includes.
One of the first things that I noticed about the performance Stapleton gives in this song is how smoothly every one of the words he sings joins forces with the fretwork in the foreground. You could make the argument that the melodic instrumentation doesn’t need to be quite as profoundly physical as it is in this instance for us to feel the girth of the groove it’s supported by, but this minor pop accent actually facilitates a much grander hook in my opinion (and one we wouldn’t be able to enjoy as much were this track not given the polish it was).
The instrumental elements in this mix are well-balanced and nudge us towards the lyrics, but they aren’t overstated beside the vocal at all. Instead, I think that The Pretty Pirates were trying to create an atmospheric backdrop to Stapleton’s lead, as to bring as much of the natural charm he has in his delivery to the surface. The connection these players have with each other is something to marvel at all by itself, and truth be told, it’s not an attribute that I would even describe as being common in popular music anymore at all.
Corey Stapleton might be afraid of some things – spiders or heights perhaps? – but he’s definitely unafraid of digging into this hook with the linguistic prowess of a master songwriter. It’s not even that he’s being all that virtuosic with his singing or what he’s saying, but instead that he’s attacking the hook with a lyrical intensity that ensures we’re going to feel the authentic nature of his emotions, no matter what they happen to be. He’s a sincere player and one who isn’t about to sacrifice any of his personality for a cheap pop thrill, regardless of what the cosmetics look or sound like.
Personally, I don’t think there are enough players in the country music genre like Corey Stapleton anymore, and if his new single with The Pretty Pirates takes off anywhere on the FM dial, I think it’s going to be good for his scene and everyone presently in it. There’s nothing wrong with being a little formulaic when you’ve got a winning recipe, and this is certainly an instance where the right ingredients are going into the pot and produce a deliciousness you can’t help but rave about. “Western Son” is everything its title would suggest it is, if not just a bit more.