Texas based singer-songwriter, Andrew Akins, releases his latest single, I-25, on 27 September 2022. We were fortunate here at the Send Me Your Ears studio to get the chance for a pre-listen. For lovers of country and Americana music – this track is for you.

I-25 is a typical example of a country song done well. It is the tale of driving down the highway (the I-25) with the girl you love, whilst also knowing that there is “an expiration date” on the relationship. This is very much a song to have on full blast whilst driving across the US, and a track that we feel would do well on country stations and college radio across the US.

I-25 starts with gentle strummed acoustic guitar that builds into a steady, country rhythm with full band. Incidental guitars panned left and right fill the sound between the lyric lines and the hammond in the distant background is a very nice touch and adds a great deal of authenticity to that classic country rock sound.

Female backing vocals join the mix in the chorus and they sit wonderfully, bolstering Akins voice perfectly and adding some extra class to the song. A tambourine also lets you know you’ve reached the chorus. The harmonies last throughout the chorus, and come and go occasionally in the verses for added emphasis.

The incidental country guitar riffs are well performed and lead into a simple but effective solo with some well placed country licks. This track will undoubtedly appeal to many country music fans and guitarists alike.

After the solo, there’s a great breakdown section with just acoustic guitar and vocals that builds back into that catchy chorus again before ending on the repeated line “Lord let me die in her arms tonight.” Akins is letting the listener know that the narrator is blissfully happy right now in this relationship and doesn’t want that nagging ominous feeling that their love is going to end.

From a production perspective, an EQ boost around 70-75Hz would make the kick drum a little more noticeable in the track. Several of the instruments are peaking around 190-200Hz, the acoustic guitar, snare top and lead vocal track could all use a surgical cut around this point. Together they are creating a slightly unclear and muddy feel to the track. The vocal track is also a little heavy in places around 1.5-2kHz which is creating the occasional nasal tone. Finally, a wide and fairly large boost across the highs centred around 10kHz would bring in a great deal of extra brightness in the track as a whole, this would be particularly apparent in the brightness of the snare wires (under-snare mic). The vocal is delivered very nicely, however we feel that it will fit much better in the track with the use of some compression. Don’t be afraid to compress hard, even try using two compressors! Maybe a little reverb with some pre-delay on the vocal too?

I-25 really is a superb example of the country/Americana genre. A road song that feels familiar right from the very first note to the last. This was our first introduction to Andrew Akins and we’re hooked. I-25 is the lead single from his forthcoming album, Parables, due out in January 2023. We urge you to add Akins to your Spotify playlist today.