Michael Stovall – Georgia – Soft Country Songs that Give You Chills

The other night I was home alone for several hours.  I typically don’t mind being alone. I listen to music and dance like a fool around the apartment, or I do silly things like re-arrange the paintings on the wall. This particular night, however, I decided to play scary zombie video games during a thunderstorm. There’s a good reason why my horror movie phase ended in college–I scare easily.  After an hour or two of killing zombies, I was positive that there was one in my bathroom and refused to go anywhere without my cat going in first (as bait, or to protect me, or something).  All of that to say, that I wouldn’t have had any of those issues if I had made the sensible choice of turning Michael Stovall on as soon as I got home.  I would have realized that my life is so much nicer without zombies and video games. I would have gotten so caught up in dancing and jamming around my apartment in my socks (trying to make them spark on the carpet) that I wouldn’t have cared at all that my husband was out playing nerdy board games until after one in the morning (we’re old people who go to sleep at nine). Stovall’s voice would have been the perfect accompaniment to the thunder and lightning and rain rushing down out there.  Well, all regrets aside, it is the perfect accompaniment to the sunshine and cool breeze on this glorious summer solstice.

“Georgia” is Stovall’s second album.  It opens up with guitar chords which make my feet look around for some soft, green grass to wander through.  “Asleep at the Wheel” is a travelling song which fills me up with all kinds of wanderlusty feelings.  It’s a song about long nights and short nights, about meeting new people and missing old ones.  It’s a song about a blonde girl and being young but ageless.

“Katie” is a song that I loved. My only complaint about it is that it is not about “Kate” instead of “Katie”. So far, Ben Folds is the only one who has written such a wonderful song about me.  Whoever Katie is, she must be incredible. I’m sure we would be great friends.  That said, this song is a little melancholy.  I love the soft string sounds hiding in the background and Stovall’s voice has that perfect emotional edge to it.

I love the harmonica.  Like the melodica, I believe it to be underused outside of its niche.  “To Live and Die in Georgia” opens with some sweet harmonica and explores some very human thoughts about what it means to be a man.  How do emotions work? How do relationships work? Very beautiful, very heartfelt. The chorus gave me shivers with its minor notes and soft harmony.

“After the fall, I found myself lying there, eyes lost out in the stars breathing in the air. Maybe in the morning I’ll make my way out of this old town, head north out on the highway never turn around. Oh, I was born free, free as a man could dream.” I wish I could just write out all of the lyrics to “Born Free” and that would be my review. But you should really just go listen.  We have plans to move west  to the desert in a few years and this song is making me wish that we could just pack up and go now. Stovall’s voice is so controlled, the beat is gentle but there are lots of sounds.  Guitar sounds, drum sounds, harmonica, voices.  It’s simple and complex, organic but symmetrical.  This song is restorative to the soul of a wanderer.

Please go check this album out.  If you like soft country sounds, nice voices, songs that give you chills, travelling, and music that gives you the wanderlust something bad–you’ll love Michael Stovall.  Maybe he will love you back.  Buy art from artists.


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