Song Review: Kara Cole – “Johnny Cash”

From the heart of Indianapolis, where roads often lead to a juxtaposition of rural charm and city buzz, Kara Cole offers up a steaming helping of southern rock on her latest track, “Johnny Cash.” Immediately arresting, the song is both an ode to heartland rock and a nod to Cole’s formative influences, from the swampy depth of Jelly Roll to the raw, indie edge of Cage The Elephant.

The opening line, “I ain’t no Johnny Cash,” sets a compelling precedent for the track. It’s both a salute to the legend and an admission of identity; a realization that while she might not be Cash, she has her own unique flair. The song’s lyrics depict a character, an everyman of sorts, who can accomplish many things but is persistently outdone by love. The charming imperfection of trying and failing to “get the girl” resonates deeply.

Kara’s voice is the lighthouse in this track’s stormy seas. Its haunting beauty is familiar, reminding listeners of storied greats like Emmylou Harris, while still retaining a distinctive edge that is inimitably Kara. It’s this vocal signature that adds a level of depth to the lines, “I’ve seen the sun go down in Georgia / I wore a suit to the devils ball / Set front row at the revolution / But nothing compares to you at all.”

“Johnny Cash” has an energetic, aggressive edge to it, embracing a southern, swampy aesthetic that pairs perfectly with the song’s theme. It’s a tantalizing blend of Indie Rock and Red Dirt – genres that may seem at odds but come together seamlessly in Cole’s hands. The rhythm is contagious, a pulsating heartbeat that underscores the urgency of the narrative.

It’s not just the raw vigor of the track that captures attention, but also its lyrical nuances. The line, “I’m a wild one, baby when it comes to you,” encapsulates the song’s essence, showcasing Kara’s ability to translate complex emotions into universally relatable narratives.

“Johnny Cash” is emblematic of Kara Cole’s masterful songwriting, and it’s no surprise given her history. From those early days penning songs in her bedroom to this larger-than-life track, she remains authentic, connecting directly with the listener. The visceral feel of the song, the interplay between the music and lyrics, gives us a tantalizing glimpse of what’s to come from this Midwestern marvel.

In a world teeming with artists vying for the limelight, Kara Cole stands apart. She’s not trying to be the next Johnny Cash; she’s busy carving out a legacy uniquely her own. And if “Johnny Cash” is any indication, it’s a legacy that promises to be both enduring and endearing.

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