EP REVIEW: Stevenson Everett – ‘The Last Troubadours Pt. 1 (Songs From The Road)’

LifeInASong_UK

‘Troubadour’, according to Collins English Dictionary, was a class of 12th and 13th century lyrical poets in Southern France, Northern Italy and Northern Spain who composed songs about courtly love. Another interpretation is a ‘strolling minstrel’. Strolling minstrel would be a novel description of a Nashville-based touring singer songwriter, but we get the sentiment.

Stevenson Everett lives and works predominately in Nashville. He’s one of many who chased the dream. In his case, the dream took him from his hometown of Thomasville, Georgia, as an 18-year-old in August 2000.

“I was an 18 year old, single, skinny, idealistic, starry eyed kid.  The world was brand new and it was all mine. I was starting this musical dream from scratch, and I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen. Now, 2000 shows, 500 songs, and 17 years later, I’m a 35 year old, married, gray bearded, idealistic yet realistic, father of two, and I find myself having to start this dream from scratch……again.”  

He wrote those words at the end of 2017 when he was launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund his ‘Ballads and Blues’ album, and the sentiments expressed are an insight into the way the business can spit talent out just when the dream seems to be materialising.

“You see, this time last year I was on fire. I was working with one of the hottest producers in town. I was signed to the biggest publishing company in the world. I had a music video out on CMT, a single burning up Spotify with streams in the millions, with songs being picked up by mainstream country radio. Things were really starting to happen. I was starting to think this crazy dream might actually come true! But after a few months, when the music stopped selling, when the hype started to fade, when I wasn’t the shiny thing in the room anymore, the company lost patience. They lost faith. The team stopped believing. And ultimately I was let go from my contract

I’ve spent the last 6 months trying to figure out how to move forward. I’ve hit up every label and publisher I know, but no one seems interested in working with me. So, I find myself with a choice to make. Do I walk away or do I stay. Look, I’ll be honest with you, I’ve seriously thought about walking away and chasing some other venture. I’ve thought that maybe it’s just not meant to be, and I’ve been able to accept that. But then I hear it. The melody in my mind that calls me, that keeps reminding me that I still have a voice, that I still have songs to sing, that I still have something to say. That I was born to do this.  

So I’m gonna give it one last shot. One last go big or go home, swing for the fences, no guts no glory moment”

The album was funded and was recorded. The career crossroad has not, fortunately, meant a change of direction, and here we are 3 years later, treated to another project from the hugely talented Stevenson Everett.

It’s a 3-track EP and this is Part 1 of a multi-part project. Parts 2 and 3 are already mapped out, but the current global health issues will delay the release of Part 2 until the end of the year.

They are songs that were written whilst he was on the road and, in a perfect world, the exposure for this guy’s music would far surpass what we can give it. He admits to being heavily influenced by 90’s R&B, and his brand of country music, musically and melodically, reflects the elements that made that era memorable.

The title track, ‘The Last Troubadour’ has lyrical sentiments that reflect the highs and lows of a singer-songwriter who strives for a legacy.

“I’m fed up of fighting slamming doors so I’m out here looking for the last troubadours”

He’s someone who seems to have experienced the highs and lows, and the proverbial brick wall. The grind of touring, absences from home and relatively modest rewards have hit hard, and ‘Hold It Together’ hasn’t been penned by someone who revels in being counted out throughout his career. It’s a tale of frustration, broken promises and resignation.

“Sometimes I swear these melodies will save me sometimes I’m scared I’m going crazy.

There’s a little bit more silver on my shoulder it’s a young mans game and I’m afraid I’m getting older”

Not the rousing, uplifting anthem that may be required in our current times of woe, but country music has always been a vehicle for the channelling of emotions.

The 3-track release formula leaves a desire for more, but few releases match the level of quality that we have here. The subject matter may stray into the melancholic, but the fact remains that this is an impressive offering and inspires one to delve into his back catalogue.

He’s has previous two albums. The crowd-funded 2018 album ‘Ballads and Blues’, the 2012 album ‘Miles To Go’, and a -track EP ‘Born With It’, all displaying ample offerings of quality that will appeal to lovers of music that is well-written and performed with passion.

The overriding emotion when listening to Stevenson Everett’s music is simply this – how have we not come across him before? Highly recommended.

Graham Wharton

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