Today’s guest on the podcast is Robert Henry, who was born in Florida and raised in Oregon, so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to give my review of his single Storm The Gate which will feature on his debut EP ‘In the Works’, released on August 7th. The Podcast episode will be available in the evening of the 22ndJuly 2020 so be sure to check that out!
Storm The Gate.
When we get the chance to review music, we are sometime are given a press release giving a little bit of a background behind the song so I’m going to paraphrase a bit here. Robert Henry describes this song as his token antiestablishment track which came to fruition when had a conversation with one of the producers during a song writing session and he was told ‘If you want to get these songs on the radio, you’ve got to please the gate-keepers’
(Gatekeepers are the people, that before the schedulers even get the chance to hear the music, listen anyhow and try to weed out what isn’t ‘commercially viable’, a bit like trying to call a company about a sales deal and having to get through the receptionist).
Within an hour of this comment to Robert, he had penned Storm The Gate which has already been awarded “Best Traditional Country Song” of winter 2020 by the World Songwriting Awards. Not a bad achievement considering it being his ‘Token Nashville protest song’.
Now on to my thoughts on the song!
Instrumentally, Storm the gate starts brilliantly. It is exactly as you would think it would be, considering what you’ve just read. A typical classic country sound which is brilliant and fits the story so well! With a steady bass note that guides us through the track and a variety of guitars staying rather minimalistic which enhances Roberts deep deep vocals. This leads us towards the chorus where the distinct and glorious whine of a pedal steel swarms your ears with its glorious tones and the offbeat on the drums just layers the track beautifully. As the next verse continues, a resonator is introduced which adds the track even more flair!
Vocally and lyrically is just as equally brilliant and the instrumentation! As mentioned, Robert has an eerily and enchantingly deep voice with a southern twang, which is brilliant considering he was raised in the northwest. It takes you back to the days of how classic country used to sound but with a modern flair in his lyricism. Lyrically, he stays true to that phrase used in the first half of this review, ‘Token Nashville protest song’ by using the phrases:
“I came to music city, with a twinkle in my eye, is there really no more room left, for a simple honest rhyme”
“We want to pitch you songs we think will sell, if you compromise just a little bit then we’ll all get paid well”
It gives you an insight some of this issues that does occur within parts of the industry, which some people may say is risky whereas I say well done! I understand the whole concept as a producer side of things in terms of creating something that sells, but in doing so, you risk losing that spark, originality and emotional value in a song when songwriters don’t have the opportunity to spread their wings and write freely.
All in all, Storm The Gate is brilliantly up tempo, wonderfully layered throughout and magically written. A song that everybody needs to hear!
Storm The Gate and the rest of Robert Henry’s music is available on Spotify, Apple Music and pretty much anywhere you can stream and buy music.
His debut EP ‘In The Works’ will be fully released on the 7th August so make sure you check it out!
Follow Robert Henry on his socials: