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Hans Halstead - Better In Your Arms (self-released)

7 June 2024

When is a country song not a country song? When it comes from Hans Halstead. That might be an odd thing to say, but it is a question that gets to the heart of what country music means and the very nature of music genres in general. Can a guy from Minnesota play country music? I mean, authentic country music? Does geography define genres?

Well, if your definition of country music is something to do with rhinestones and big hats, writing songs exclusively about being a loner and being in love with your women/dog/country/pickup truck and delivering them with a southern twang, then maybe not. But then I suspect Hans wouldn’t want to do that anyway.

If country music is about honest and authentic roots music with a sense of place and style, is the sound of acoustic guitar tones and pedal steel textures, if it echoes with bluesy refrains and folky delicacy, if it is lyrically vibrant, deep and meaningful, then “Better in your Arms” is undoubtedly it.

Neo-country? Indie-roots? Northern-Americana? Why label it? Why not call it great music and leave it at that?