Nicolle Galyon – ‘second wife’ EP review

In the world of country music, Nicolle Galyon has earned her stripes as a prolific songwriter, penning multiple chart-topping hits for the likes of Dan+Shay, Kenny Chesney and Miranda Lambert that delve into the intricacies of hometowns, heartbreak, and resilience. Yet, amidst her lyrical prowess, Galyon has kept a private chapter veiled from the public eye: her role as a devoted wife for the past 16 years. Partnered with fellow hitmaker Rodney Clawson, known for his collaborations with icons like George Strait, Luke Bryan, and Kenny Chesney, Galyon unveils a surprise EP, aptly named ‘second wife,’ arriving this Friday on their 16th wedding anniversary.

This intimate six-song EP was crafted by the couple during a reflective weekend at their farm just outside Nashville, delving into the nuances of their shared journey. Recorded with co-producers Jimmy Robbins and King Henry at the renowned Sonic Ranch in Texas, ‘second wife’ promises to be a musical testament to love, commitment, and the complexities of marriage. Arriving 15 months after Galyon’s critically acclaimed debut, ‘firstborn,’ which was praised as “candid and vulnerable” by Forbes, this surprise release marks a significant moment in Galyon’s musical evolution, inviting listeners into the depths of her personal narrative.

“’second wife’ shows the side of me that is flawed, self-deprecating, understated, silly, and yet unconventionally traditional. The side of me that fell in love at 21. That’s a side of me that I don’t always show — the married one,” shares Galyon. “If ‘firstborn’ was a memoir, ‘second wife’ is more of a fun adventure in real time.” Of the record, Galyon adds, “the thing about ‘second wife’ is even the title itself is imperfect. That’s probably my favorite thing about being one. The illusions (and delusions) I had as a ‘firstborn’ were gone once I became one.”

The project opens with ‘Jo,’ a brief yet harmonious tribute to Rodney Clawson’s mother. ‘Jo’ is a touching, minute-long song where Galyon’s vocals blend seamlessly with Clawson’s backing harmonies. The song is a heartfelt appreciation of Jo’s influence, emphasizing her role in shaping Rodney Clawson’s exceptional qualities in Galyon’s eyes.

Elsewhere you get a detailed account of Galyon and Clawson’s relationship that isn’t sequenced in chronological order but could be if you shuffled the songs around a little. On ‘Rooms,’ Galyon lays bare her fears and insecurities, exploring the challenges faced as the second wife. Accompanied by an acoustic guitar, Galyon’s vulnerable vocals navigate the complexities of judgment and societal expectations, creating a poignant folk-pop experience as she shares some of the judgements passed down on her from others and her own doubts in a very intense yet melodic way.

A joyous celebration of love, ‘Prenup’ delves into the couple’s decision to forgo a prenuptial agreement, expressing their unwavering commitment to each other. With its Little Big Town-esque charm and sweet sentiments, the track radiates harmonious naivety, reflecting a genuine love story. ‘The Grain’ extends that sentiment even further, portraying Galyon and Clawson’s unique love story and celebrating their unconventional relationship choices. This tender acoustic ballad captures their deep connection, combining melodic warmth with Eagles-inspired vibes, making it a soulful and heartfelt composition.

The EP closes with two very different songs that both radiate charm and maturity. A cleverly crafted track with a double meaning, ‘Texas Hold ‘Em’ pays tribute to Clawson’s Texan roots. The song’s catchy cadence and insistent drum beats, reminiscent of 80s Americana, capture the essence of Texan pride. Galyon’s witty lyrics and the inviting singalong quality make it one of the standout tracks on the project whilst ‘Under the Rainbow’ reflects on the couple’s contemplation of a move from Tennessee to Kansas. This tender acoustic composition reimagines Judy Garland’s iconic song, exploring themes of change, uncertainty, and the desire for a simpler life away from the chaos of Nashville. Galyon’s poignant lyrics evoke a deep sense of introspection, closing this phase of their story on a heartfelt note.

Nicole Galyon’s ‘second wife’ album is a testament to genuine love, resilience, and embracing life’s complexities. Through a blend of soulful melodies and honest storytelling, Galyon and Clawson offer listeners a deeply personal glimpse into their world. Each track, infused with sincerity and vulnerability, creates a rich tapestry of emotions, making ‘second wife’ a captivating and relatable musical journey from two of the best songwriters that Nashville has to offer.

Tracklist: 1. jo 2. prenup 3. the grain 4. rooms 5. texas hold ’em 6. under the rainbow Record Label: Songs & Daughters Release Date: 13th October Buy ‘second wife’ right here

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