Here at the Send Me Your Ears studio today, we’ve been listening to the latest single from one of our favourites, Garland Kelley. The Higher Road was released on 21st April 2023.
Garland Kelley continues to impress us here at Send Me Your Ears. His Art Rock/genre-crossing style is highly appealing and we’ve described him in the past as an artist in every sense of the word. We always look forward to seeing his name at the top of our reviews pile.
The Higher Road was written when Garland was 16 during the rise and fall of his first heartbreak. There is a sense of duality as the verses have a mournful beauty to them while the choruses are brighter and more hopeful.
The song instantly grabs your attention at the start with the well-played and well-recorded acoustic guitar picking that we’ve come to expect from Garland. You can hear that there are fresh new strings on the guitar! It is bright and extremely pleasant to listen to.
The Higher Road has a nostalgic, but also timeless feel to it. It is positively delightful to listen to: Garland’s gentle voice leading the way, and telling the story of his lost love, while the choruses show just a tiny crack in the mournfulness and look to the future for happier times.
The Higher Road has simple instrumentation throughout: needing nothing more than the precision guitar playing and Garland’s warm vocals. The choruses add in some expertly placed harmony vocals that simply serve to bolster the lead voice and make it sound even better, with a thick and full quality.
We think this track is an exceptional candidate for consideration for placement in TV or a movie montage. It is simple, charming and would sit very nicely in the background of a scene depicting the heartbreaking loss of a first love. The 6/8 feel of the song gives it a floaty and gentle quality that we think music supervisors would be delighted by, and would strongly urge Garland to investigate opportunities in this area.
Ideas from our ears
A small cut around 200-250Hz in the guitars and a cut around 500-600Hz in the lead vocal could reduce some slightly ‘muddy’ and ‘honky’ tones respectively. As always, these are just some ideas from our ears.
Garland Kelley always impresses us with his creativity and versatility. The Higher Road is a gentle love song that will delight your ears with some skilful guitar playing and a voice that you could just drown in! Superb!