When Mississippi native Trent Dabbs moved to Nashville to pursue his music career, he soaked up the local scene and incorporated it into his own work. Yet Dabbs is no country singer: he’s a folk-pop artist with a twist of alternative rock. After three volumes and many tours, Dabbs gifts his audience with Southerner, an ambitious album that is a return to his heritage and a deviation from his past albums, Your Side Now and Decade Fades.
“Follow Suit” stands out on Southerner because it highlights not only his vocal talents, but his songwriting talents as well. He has honed an ability for telling a story through his lyrics, with inspirations drawn from conversations, films and events from his life. The song begins calmly with light guitar strumming. The strength of Dabbs’ vocals is evident in the song as it builds up to a very blues-inspired chorus. The piano is piercing, and the strumming becomes more intense as the song and its lyrics escalate into a darker, more serious, moment. “Yeah I’ve got a long list of enemies/What’s another gonna do to me?/I don’t care if you don’t approve/Don’t wanna hear about what you think/Do your best to keep the best of me/Nothing in my blood is even gonna follow suit.” And later on: “Soul on lock down/I’m open to closing/Leave the fresh air to paper planes/The better life now/It must be hiding/Far away from the same old thing.”
Many of Dabbs’s songs have been featured on the hit shows such as Pretty Little Liars, Hawaii Five-O and Private Practice, yet Dabbs is not a sell-out artist that conforms to pop culture and the mainstream media; this kind of exposure opens his fan base to a younger demographic.
Just like his song states, Dabbs has never followed suit. He has made a name for himself that has never been tainted by the commercial and mainstream music scene. His career has been very low-key, but successful nonetheless. A master of his music, he walks a thin tightrope with every new album—and his collaborators are just players in his ingenious musical circus. Maybe this album will finally be the push to get him onto our airwaves and give him and his music the recognition they both deserves.