Ranzel X Kendrick sounds a little like Diamond David Lee Roth of Van Halen, in his gentler moments. Only this isn’t a heavy metal lead singer taking a volume break. Instead, it is the way Kendrick always likes to do it.
He describes himself as “just a country son,” and this song details a good day, where an afternoon of shooting birds, giving them hell and living this western way is a good day. He also likes to have a few beers – not enough to get drunk – and pick out a little country-funk. “It’s all just a part of the man in me,” he tells us.
The song features a simple arrangement. It’s built upon acoustic guitar picking. It’s not just guitar-backed, however. There’s also fiddle fills from beginning to end.
Kendrick has more of a storyteller voice, than particularly good vocal skills. He half talks/half sings this one, adding jazzy inflections now and again. In a few places, there are backing vocals. For the most part, though, this is a stripped-down track.
“Sequin Son of a Gun” can generally be categorized as a country pride song. Country pride songs are especially popular in the country music scene these days. Ironically, though, many of these artists bragging about their Southern roots, aren’t doing so with true country music. It’s not uncommon to hear songs of this nature sung to R&B grooves (Sam Hunt and Kane Brown are good examples of this approach) or Southern rock (pretty much anything by Jason Aldean, or songs from one of Aldean’s favorite songwriters, Brantley Gilbert). One factor that separates Kendrick from these mainstream braggarts is the back-to-basics instrumentation on his single. Granted, it’s a little swing-y and the fiddle is jazzy, but it’s not spoiled by over production, the way too many contemporary country songs are.
Another element worth praising about Kendrick’s new song is his avoidance of clichés. So much contemporary country music, especially that which is labeled bro-country, includes too many familiar clichés. Girls always wear Daisy Dukes, drive around back roads and alternate drinking beer, Fireball whiskey and sweet tea. None of these predictable behaviors occur during Kendrick’s song. It’s almost as though modern country songs have a checklist of elements that must be included before they can receive airplay. Kendrick obviously – and thankfully – didn’t get the memo, nor did he consult this checklist.
“Sequin Son of a Gun” is not going to change the world, nor is that its intention. It’s, instead, a slice of life. A look into a better-than-average day for a country boy. It’s believable because it’s so specific in many ways. It’s not one of those stereotypical song lyrics that paint an idealized picture of country life. Maybe you’re from the country, and you can relate. It probably won’t make city folk give up their urban dwellings for life in the country. It’s not that sort of advertisement for small town life. It’s just a simple song, about a simple man where the simple stuff of life makes him happy. Nothing more, nothing less.