While they’re not overly physical in any fashion, there’s no getting around the textured presence of the guitars in Shane Britt’s terrific new single “I’m Not Well.” In more ways than one, the string play in this track is the perfect complement to Britt’s warm vocal, which conveys lyrics in a way that no other voice could have. “I’m Not Well” is a sleek country song with strong pop/rock overtones, but make no mistake about it – though it lacks a defined loyalty to a specific scene on the surface, the substance of the songcraft here is undisputedly top-notch.
There’s a lot of rowdy Americana in this track, but I would stop short of chalking it up to growing trends in the underground today. Britt doesn’t have a hard time distinguishing himself from the competition right out of the gate with the slow-churning rhythm of the music; the words adorn the melodies like ribbons and bows on a present, never allowing for us to become overwhelmed by any one aesthetical element over another. “I’m Not Well” is a full-bodied cocktail of musicality if I’ve heard one this season, and compared to some of the similarly-stylized content I’ve heard out of the mainstream lately, it feels a lot more genuine in spirit.
As strong as the string play in this single is, there’s nothing powerful enough to steal the main spotlight away from the vocals here. Shane Britt channels the easy breeze of a southern summer with every word he sings, and although he straddles the percussive components in the track very carefully, his lyrics never interrupt the even flow of the beat. This is someone who has a lot of talent to bring into the studio with him, and alongside an arrangement of this particular caliber, we get some of the sweetest harmonies of the year so far.
Lyrically speaking, the emotional charge in “I’m Not Well” is something to write home about, but through the careful delivery from Shane Britt, they exude vitality in ways they likely couldn’t have with someone else helming the mic. Tangibility is everything in slightly experimental tracks like this one, and for this singer/songwriter, proving his authenticity to the audience is never an issue. He doesn’t have to feign sounding real; he’s being himself, and that much is obvious even in the most casual of listening sessions.
If this is just a taste of what Shane Britt has got in store for us in the future, his career is going to get very interesting in this next decade. 2023 is bringing forth a lot of intriguing new dispatches from the American underground, but for a simple single with heady country undertones, “I’m Not Well” is a track that I would recommend above the rest. Britt has a way with melodies that can’t be taught, and in this release, he’s making it difficult for listeners to walk away unaffected by his soft yet deeply consistent lead vocal. I think there’s a lot more to his story, but we’re getting some excellent insight in this performance.