by Carlos Ramirez
Let’s build a timeline.
2004 Nelly and Tim McGraw. Heavy hitters in their respective genres release their collaboration. ‘Over and Over Again’
2006 Taylor Swift thrives in both country and pop. Officially transitions to pop in 2014
2012 Florida Georgia Line top charts with ‘Cruise’ and give birth to the sub-genre, “Bro-country”
2019 Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus go down to the ‘Old Town Road’
2022 Lewis Hensley describes his music as “Country Hop and Roll”
New genres often arise from the courting of tenured ones. Lewis ‘Louie Lee’ Hensley might be knocking at the door of the next iteration of pop country.
The majority of music released by the Detroit native have a very prominent country sound. His 2021 tracks “Two Thirty” and “Backwoods Surfing” check every box for a kicking bonfire party. However, the latest track, “Cocaine Cowboys”, leans into pop tendencies of today with a subject matter suited for Outlaw country.
“Cocaine Cowboys” is designed to make you dance in the car with all the windows down and volume turned up. No pedal steel guitar or subtle mandolin in this one. However, 808s, electric guitars, and echoing synths make it a good addition to a party playlist. Lewis Hensley has a rich baritone and a solid falsetto to harmonize during the catchy chorus. Jay Vinchi, the featured artist, lends an energetic voice for the hook.
Lyrically, Louie Lee takes a different approach. While, songs like “Old Ghosts” and “Tailgate Blues” deal with messages of love and ambition… “Cocaine Cowboys” alludes to police raids and car chases. Crime, cops, and Race cars… Country artists are notorious for singing about their trucks, we don’t hear references to Ferraris nearly as often. I speculate the artist may have drawn inspiration from the Netflix documentary by the same name.
It is not easy to predict the trajectory of music innovation. We’ve yet to see where Louie Lee lands. Tell us what you think in the comments below. You can hear “Cocaine Cowboys” here or on our Alchemical Records Multigenre Mixture playlist on Spotify.
Carlos Ramirez is a broadcaster and lover of all things performance art from the DC region. With experience in the theatre, television, and radio, Carlos believes one of the most important details that makes music magical is the culture. Supporting the artist is just as important as enjoying their art. Therefore, when he’s not on the air, you can find him at every open mic, hole in the wall, and basement show in town.
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