It’s always a worry that with each passing of a musical icon, we might lose their unique piece of the art form to the sands of time. Case in point – earlier this year, the world lost Americana songwriting legend John Prine. His simplistic storytelling writing style was a true monument in the folk music community, and also a style that is not as commonly employed by the next generation of songwriters. Fortunately for acoustic music enthusiasts, there are still a few songwriters who are working in similar ways, creating music that is remarkably reminiscent of Mr. Prine himself. One such artist is Sean Keel and his incredibly well-crafted single Corn Palace.
One hallmark of a very skillful songwriter is the ability to create an entire world the listener can live in within a song. Corn Palace does exactly that. From the very first lines, you are transported to the small, South Dakota town, past its prime with a storied past, reliving the glory days through a melancholy tinged lens. The broken relationship, the aging town, the passing of time and the changes that come with it – the track touches on each of these with an endearing level of sincerity.
Each line is written in simple, plain English, without any aggressive poetic overtones or exceedingly exotic metaphors, and the pictures of this place are painted nonetheless. It’s immediately captivating from the opening lines:
“Plastic bags are catching air they’re dancing
Reaching wings white as wedding gowns
Haven’t known for years where you are, I’m not asking
The revival must be over. The tents are coming down.”
Backed by nothing but a simple, beautiful acoustic guitar, and delivered by Keel’s soulful, raspy voice, this track just radiates authenticity and feeling from a genuine human experience. It’s easy to find yourself immersed in the world Keel has written for us, to the point where we found ourselves wishing for another verse or two after the song came to a close, just to carry on living in that universe for a minute longer.
If you’re a fan of classic folk sounds, compelling stories, truly wonderful and skillful songwriting, or anything John Prine or Townes Van Zandt ever did, Corn Palace (and much of Sean Keel‘s catalog) is something we’d highly recommend you take a listen to. You don’t hear too much music written like this any more, and we’re counting ourselves fortunate to have come across such a gem of a track.
BELOW: Listen to Corn Palace and connect with his website and social media platforms. Please support Sean Keel 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!