Full disclosure: This week’s song of the hour is by a friend of mine. But it could have easily been my song choice regardless. It’s really good.
Listen to “Sunday Island” on Spotify
It can be hard to sift through all the music floating around on the Internet and to find an artist with a distinctive sound, especially music coming out of Nashville, which usually only has two modes: mainstream country or easy-listening, banjo Americana, with outlaw versions of both modes making the occasional welcome appearance (see: Miranda Lambert in the mainstream, Grace Askew in the Americana-stream). Bartlee’s debut single is neither of those things, though the song does come out of the Nashville machine. No, the first thing I thought of when “Sunday Island”‘s slinky beat began was that my friend had made a rap song. Then his voice kicks in, and it takes a moment for your brain to adjust to the blue-eyed pop song that fits over what would have been a killer beat for a stoner hip-hop song. The transition is easy, though; soon you’re floating downstream with Bartlee’s confused attempts at a certain kind of love, and it’s easy to forget that this guy is an unknown, someone without a defined niche in the industry, because he sure seems to know who he is.