Up-and-coming Americana artist Will Stewart knows a thing or two about the value of home. Returning to his state of Alabama after a stint of Nashville in 2016, Stewart returned a man with a deeper outlook on and appreciation for the South. Or, so it would be inferred through the introspective lens that he places on his life stories of growing up there on his incoming solo debut LP, County Seat.
The album is due out on 6 April via Cornelius Chapel. Ahead of its release, however, Stewart is sharing his own reflective, melancholic take on Justin Tubb's "Mine Is a Lonely Life" with PopMatters. It's a short but sweet cover tune book-ending the album and one of the purest examples that come to this writer's recent memory of the term "less is more". The stripped-back, emotionally-layered nature of Stewart's arrangement almost has it feel more in-line with the indie folk of a Conor Oberst or Elliott Smith than a straight-laced cover of a country classic. Either way, Stewart paints himself not only as a brilliant songwriter ob his album but a brilliant arranger of songs in his new take on Tubb's tune.
"The first time I heard the song was a Roger Miller version from the 1950s, and it was immediately my favorite song from that particular album," Stewart tells PopMatters. "County Seat talks a lot about loneliness and isolation so I thought this would be an appropriate closing track. I played guitar and stood next to Janet while we sang and recorded this on a single mic. First take. I wanted it to be as real and simple as possible."