US singer-songwriter, Kyle Huskey, releases his latest single, Villain, today, and we here at Send Me Your Ears studio have been fortunate to be some of it’s first listeners.

Villain is a gentle soft rock/Americana feeling ballad with an important message. Written at 4am in the cafeteria of a residential treatment facility, Huskey had finally summoned the courage to reach out for help. Written on a cheap guitar that he found at the facility, Villain is a song of guilt and shame and the regret of the pitfalls of addiction. Kyle Huskey declares in his biography that he is (at the time of writing) 94 days sober. Great stuff!

Villain comes straight in with acoustic guitar and Kyle’s smooth vocals. The familiar chord sequence instantly makes you feel comfortable and means that you can really focus in on the message of the lyrics.

“I stand tall on a mountain of hearts i have broken” tells so much in so few words. This really is superb lyric writing.

There’s a lovely subtle and distant reverb on the vocal track that sits nicely and really makes Huskey’s voice stand out. At around 1 minute in, an electric guitar starts to add a few fills, and soon after that it is joined by drum and bass and you have a full band sound.

We particularly like the distant driven guitar that sits under the vocals and arrives at around 2 minutes in. The guitar solo later into the song, for the most part, follows the melody line and really serves to make you feel as though you’re in a safe space. The guitar remains in the background behind the vocals until the song drops back out to the acoustic guitar and vocals and eventually bravely ending on vocals alone, showing some real honesty and vulnerability.

From a production perspective, we’d suggest a hi-pass around 35Hz would filter out some boomy – rumbly frequencies and give the track a little more clarity in that area. A cut around 500Hz would balance out some dominating tones in the vocal track. Finally, a small wide boost across the high mids and highs would help to give the whole sound a little more definition and brightness. Overall, this song shows a great deal of strength and courage on behalf of the artist. Not only has he reached inside and taken control of his life but he’s willing to open up and sing about it. No doubt this vulnerability will inspire others.

Kyle Huskey’s “Villain” is a brutally honest and thought provoking insight into the human mind. We wish him well and hope to hear much more from him in the future.