There are countless ways that a heavenly harmony can affect us, and in Brian Keith’s “So Long Emily,” it’s perhaps even more essential to the construction of the song’s narrative than Keith’s lyrics are. From the get-go, the backing band and the man of the hour are conjuring up a charming vibrancy in their shared melodicism that arguably expresses more emotion than any verse ever could on its own, and although it could be said that this is hardly new territory for Brian Keith, “So Long Emily” could be the most efficient showcase of his talents to see widespread release so far. One part country ballad and another part Americana-meets-pop in the best way possible, this is required listening this season for anyone who loves good roots music.
The beat in this song forges the foundation for every melodic burst of adrenaline that we find in its running time, and I think the percussion was stylized with a little more polish than the other components here to illustrate the emotionality in this aspect of the track. Brian Keith’s scene is known for using every part of a composition to tell us a story, and to some extent, “So Long Emily” is no different. What is different about this release versus past efforts is perhaps steeped more in aesthetical fluidity than it is a style of attack; in more ways than one, this song is a hybrid, but it doesn’t sound even remotely experimental beside the other tracks I’ve been hearing in Nashville as of late.
You don’t have to be a professional critic to pick up on the reflective tone in this single, and to a lesser degree, the theme that persists from the start of the lyrics to the very moment its narrative ceases to fill the air around us. I got the impression that for Brian Keith, exploring the depth of poeticisms here wasn’t so much about alluding to his personable nature as it was demonstrating that he’s the real article whether he’s rocking out to a swinging beat or simply crooning a lush ballad to us in half-time. He’s a musician of many talents, and anyone with an ear for pure melodicism can tell that.
Though it doesn’t apply to many of the records that his closest rivals have given us in the last couple of years, it’s no overstatement to say that what Brian Keith pulls off in his latest work is a turning point for his artistry, and more importantly, the combination of influences he’s attempting to amalgamate in-studio. You needn’t be the world’s biggest country music fan to fall in love with what “So Long Emily” is all about, but for those of us who can’t get enough of a pastoral-powered harmony in all of its untouched glory, this is premium content that you don’t find every day on your local FM dial anymore. The bottom line? Keith is an artist you need to keep on your radar right now if you’re a believer in the country spirit.
Debbie F Graham
So proud of you brother you have no idea just how proud i am..love you keith