Despite the retrospective theme of its lyrics, the new single “Urban Cowboy” from Glenn Valles is hardly a depressing country song. On the contrary, there’s something rather optimistic about the sheer size of its string arrangement, the glow of its harmonies, and the energy with which Valles addresses his audience – the likes of which I rarely come across in a purely underground player such as him. “Urban Cowboy” shares its name with a classic motion picture, but unlike the movie, I think it’s going to create more credibility for its star than it dismisses.
These strings were definitely the first element that caught my attention when I sat down with the song, and I think that because of how smoothly they’re situated in the center of the mix, there’s even more fluidity to these verses than there would have been. I get the overall impression from Valles that sticking with a streamlined pattern is something that benefits his singing style a lot in the studio, and it would be interesting to see if the same is true of his stage performances or if he’s able to loosen up a bit for something more experimental in person.
The confidence that Valles has in his voice is captivating, and while I think he has every right to be a bit cocky when he’s laying into the chorus, it’s impressive that he’s able to refrain and stay as humble in tone as he does. This isn’t all that simple when you consider the power he’s introducing to the track, but his disciplined approach is something I would love to see catch fire across the Nashville underground, where useless excess has started to become the norm again after a roughly thirty-year hiatus (and a lot of quality mainstream releases).
I have a strong feeling that while Glenn Valles is going to be celebrated on the indie circuit from which he is launching his career, he’s bound for places a lot bigger than the underground has to offer him. “Urban Cowboy” is a likable song, and a piece that gives us a look into the kind of songwriter he is when he’s minding his vocal limitations and general capabilities as a performer. This isn’t someone who I can envision biting off more than he can chew, which is not the case with the vast majority of his contemporaries in America as well as abroad.