A new chapter begins in Kellie Pickler’s career as she prepares to release her first music on her new record label Black River Entertainment. She kicks things off with a true beauty of a song with the Dave Raines – Walt Wilkins ballad “Someone Somewhere Tonight.”
To call “Someone Somewhere Tonight” a love song feels like an oversimplification of sorts, even though that’s basically what it is. Far from indulging in empty schmaltz, it’s a song that captures commonality of the human experience, meditating on the endlessly repeating cycles of birth and death while contrasting the different turns life can take based on a person’s choices.
Pickler’s performance doesn’t quite possess the sense of age-earned wisdom that enriched previous versions by Kenny Rogers and Pam Tillis, but her comparatively youthful take on the song is effective in its own right. The poised, graceful lyrical interpreter who fully blossomed on last year’s 100 Proof makes a return as Pickler imbues the song with the gravitas of one who, lest we forget, has put in some hard living in only 26 years. The arrangement strikes a balance between the modern and the traditional, while allowing plenty of leeway to let the lyric and performance speak.
It’s a compelling performance of a quality song – something far too rare in the modern country format. Though richly deserving of a mainstream audience, such an astute, insightful ballad would hardly seem the usual go-to for an artist making her first radio bid on a new label, but this release would seem to confirm that Pickler’s pandering days are indeed over.
Only time will tell if the risk will pay off, and if the Black River promotional muscle will have any success in restoring Pickler to her slot at country radio. But as Pickler ventures out with a new team behind her, and doubtless some increased notoriety in the wake of her recent Dancing with the Stars victory, there may be a reason to hope that “Someone Somewhere Tonight” just might bring a little substance and sincerity back to mainstream country music.
Written by Dave Raines and Walt Wilkins