Outside the Lines: Levi Lowrey
Most Recent Release: I Confess I Was a Fool (2011) – Southern Ground Records
For Fans of: Walt Wilkins, Wade Bowen, Townes Van Zandt
If there is one current songwriter who deserves attention from the Texas/Red-Dirt scene, it’s Levi Lowrey. Lowrey is an astounding songwriter who has not let the modern country charts affect his songwriting techniques. Despite having already written songs for both Randy Houser and Zac Brown Band, achieving a number one single by co-writing “Colder Weather,” (one of the best written songs on country radio in recent years), he has managed to remain under the radar.
This is not so surprising when one takes a listen to Lowrey’s most recent release I Confess I Was A Fool. With minimal production, Americana-tinged acoustic arrangements, and a catalog of self-loathing, painful love songs in the vein of Townes Van Zandt, there simply is not a market for Lowrey on country radio today (unless Zac Brown is singing his songs).
Starting with the straight-ahead country/folk of “The Problem With Freedom,” the album immediately demands the listener to pay close attention to every word uttered out of Lowrey’s soft vocals. Lowrey’s honest songwriting cannot be avoided, as song after song is filled with a unique sincerity that is all too rare in today’s music scene.
“Act Like We’re Lovers,” is a ballad from husband to wife desperately trying to rekindle a flame: “We’ve been chasin’ after life so hard/ that love has passed us by/ Too busy playin’ husband and wife/ Let’s just act like we are lovers tonight.”
Continuing in the same vein, the powerful “No Good Dreaming Kind” provides the best “country” song on the album. “Whiskey and Wine,” is a soft duet that could easily be played in coffee shops across the country, and “Train Hopper,” sounds like Walt Wilkins singing something that Merle Haggard and Townes Van Zandt would have co-wrote. With its haunting and stripped-down arrangement, it is sure to cause goose bumps.
Two of the album’s best-written songs come near the end. “Roselee and Odes,” a beautifully written tale about a dying man and his wife, is sure to bring tears that will not stop until the album stops spinning. Last is the autobiographical “Hold On Tight,” a true story about Lowrey’s early marriage to his already pregnant wife, who were both 19 at the time.
His newest album, produced by multi-instrumentalist Clay Cook of the Zac Brown Band, was recorded earlier this year and is likely due out in the fall. With all of the attributes of a great country singer/songwriter, Levi Lowrey deserves to be embraced whole-heartedly by a fan group who will truly appreciate him. Those who are looking for a new top-notch songwriter to listen to, look no further than Levi Lowrey. I Confess I Was A Fool is the perfect place to start.