Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
When delving into an artist for the Independent Spotlight, I immediately head on over to their social networking ‘about’ pages. It’s always intriguing to learn how an artist describes themselves, something that becomes even more compelling as I discern whether or not that self-description is accurate. In this evening’s edition of the Spotlight, I was met with a rather eclectic genre listing: Indie Rock, Folk-R&B, Euro-Pop, Acoustic, Soul - all from a man from Texas. That man is Tre’ Nation. (Stylized ‘TRe’ NATiON.’)
Tre’ Nation’s latest studio release is ‘Carry On,’ a single that includes a main cut, an acoustic rendition, and a B-side. The track is a hauntingly well produced effort, one that exhibits Tre’ Nation as a superb talent with quite a bit of potential. The infectious pop ballad definitely toys with influence from all of Tre’ Nation’s self-prescribed genres, but I’d argue it’s primarily a pop tune with heavy soul influence. Accentuated beautifully by a minimalistic production, Nation is highlighted stunningly amidst a sea of sonic intimacy.
When you take a peek at Nation’s influences, the pieces begin to come together: Sam Smith, Joy Williams, and Pink, to name a few. When Nation enters his gorgeous falsetto pieces on ‘Carry On,’ he’s reminiscent of some of Sam Smith’s most admirable forays into soul-tinged vocals. The main mix, dubbed the ‘Zid Morin Mix,’ combines some subtle, but widely effective electronic instrumentation and beats. Even though I’m particularly fond of acoustic mixes, the Morin master of ‘Carry On’ is the one to go with.
To touch briefly on the acoustic mix, I was disappointed to hear that it’s the same mix, just cutting out Morin’s instrumentation. Typically, when an artist bills a track as an “acoustic” take on a release, it’s a fresh recording. That isn’t the case here, however, and in actuality, the mix is probably too similar to the original to really draw any thoughtful insight from. I would have loved to heard Nation backed by a live, stripped down acoustic band performing this song instead of a slightly-altered studio mix.
‘Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’ is the classic case of a B-side or “Bonus Track” outshining its titular single in just about every way. Now, this track does have a very different flair than ‘Carry On.’ It’s still pop and soul influenced, but there’s a thick layer of rock and roll infused into ‘Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.’ The result is absolutely riveting, painting Tre’ Nation as a rocker and a frontman, something ‘Carry On’ doesn’t necessarily do. That said, the release does portray both sides of his talent, which is admirable in its own regard.
I adore Tre’ Nation. This is genuine pop music that touches on a dozen other genre influences straight down the grapevine. Go hit up Nation on Spotify and all other music platforms. Find his social media below:
Instagram & Twitter: @iamTrenation