We last heard from singer-songwriter Hank Quillen back in 2020 with his release of A Southern Style River Revival Volumes I and II, a project we found to be “soulful, diverse, and authentic“. Now Quillen is back with a brand new single for this summer. Embracing a pop/rock sound with a hint of Americana, Treading Water embodies so much of what we loved about his dynamic previous release.
Introduced to us with simple but effective guitar, the first half of Treading Water is easy on production but heavy on feeling. We’ve made mention of Quillen’s vocals before – a remarkable lightness in his execution that somehow still manages to lay the emotion on pretty thick – and we’re thrilled to find that element on full display once again. After the bare-bones beginning, a compelling electronic interlude gives way to the entrance of the full band. And while it’s not a massive sonic shift, it does fill the track out in a very welcome way, rising in intensity through the bridge before settling back down for a final chorus.
Quillen has a strong handle on immersive songwriting, and this single speaks to that ability, even as its messaging is shrouded tastefully in poeticism. Quillen tells us the track was initially inspired by missing someone, and he takes quite the artful approach with the lyrics, heavy on metaphors and deeper meaning in almost every line.
“Sinking in silence through moments I have
The blood in the brine covers up my path
Making shallow attempts in matters so deep
The blood in the brine camouflages my need”
But it’s the chorus that brings us back to undeniable relatability. Quillen’s ability to write a compelling hook is something that stood out on his previous release, and that ability of his appears on this single as well. And his particular choice for this track is especially pertinent now as so many of us feel like it’s a struggle to keep up in this ever-challenging world we live in:
“‘I’m treading water lately not sure how long that I can
How can I not be going crazy when all around me says I am?”
Treading Water is a triumphant return for Hank Quillen, putting some of his strongest artistic attributes on full display. Each element of this single is incredibly thoughtful – from the arrangement choice to the production to the composition itself. If you’ve enjoyed Quillen’s work so far, or find yourself enjoying expressive singer-songwriter style soft rock, Treading Water will be a comfortable addition to your repertoire.
BELOW: Listen to Treading Water and connect with his website and social media platforms. Please support Hank Quillen by visiting him online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing his music, or attending a live show! And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!
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