Some people seek out nostalgia: they are often looking for sounds, sights, humans who can help them re-create the past. The past, of course, always being a place that tends to look more appealing with retrovision-tinted lens. For some of us, nostalgia can be an experience that happens unexpectedly, and it can be welcome or unwelcome. It can also, somewhat weirdly, manifest as a feeling for a time and place that we’ve never actually experienced. In musical terms, it can take the form of a song that sounds intensely, reassuringly familiar even though we’ve never heard it before.
‘Hollow’, the new single from Central Queensland singer-songwriter The Earl of Grey, falls into that latter category. It has a sound of country music from the Kris Kristofferson era (it also conjures Glen Campbell) – emotional singing, sparse instrumentation, an easy way with a beat – and that’s the familiar nature of it. It also has a very distinct identity. It’s a flexible song, in that it’s as easy to imagine The Earl of Grey sitting on a barstool singing it to a small crowd as it is to imagine it ringing out to a festival crowd. That flexibility comes from an unflinchingly solid structure – what I like to think of as good manners, because structure is what helps the listener relax, knowing they’re not going to have strain to work out what the hell is going on – that allows The Earl of Grey to tell his story clearly, and with meaning.
‘Hollow’ is taken from the forthcoming EP Prince Charming, due for release later this year, when The Earl of Grey will take to the road in Gladstone, Brisbane, Sydney and the NSW Central Coast, and other places to be added.
Listen to ‘Hollow’ on: