Since arguing the last two weeks for and against my proposition that the best country songs are the ones which teeter on the brink of parody of the genre, I’ve completely confused myself. Where I used to think ‘When I Call Your Name’ was definitely an example of a song to support my proposition, listening to it again, now I’m not too sure.
Some of the best country ballads are those that teeter on tipping over into parody. This balancing act is what produces in ‘The Promise’ a feeling of it being both contemporary and timeless. Sturgill’s sound on this song is unapologetically country ballad. As a listener you laugh, experience an emotional pull, and sing along when Simpson delivers the song’s ending chorus fortissimo.
Sometimes the saddest songs are the simplest. Sometimes these songs are country songs. ‘If I Could Only Fly’ would be unbearably sad if it wasn’t for that line “You know sometimes I write happy songs”. You can almost hear Foley give a wry smile as he sings it.