Single Review: Caylee Hammack, “Small Town Hypocrite”

 

“Small Town Hypocrite”

Caylee Hammack

Written by Caylee Hammack, Mikey Reeves, and Jared Scott

Far too much of the discourse around contemporary country centers on misguided notions of “authenticity”– call it the Midland dilemma– without looking any deeper than styling choices and whether or not an artist “paid their dues” in a particular way. Caylee Hammack tackles notions of authenticity from a completely different and far more productive perspective on “Small Town Hypocrite,” a brilliantly observed song about the personal consequences of wanting too desperately to belong.

Over a deftly plucked acoustic guitar figure, Hammack sings, “And that scholarship was a ship that sailed / When I chose you and daddy gave me hell… Took all my plans and I put ‘em in a box / Phantom pains for the wings I’d lost.” She begins her story by recounting how she and her eventual partner initially bonded over being outsiders in their small town but wanting to fit in before they settled into a relationship that changed them both. Hammack’s narrator dresses down her husband for his running around while she stares out the window at a picket fence that she never really wanted.

Ultimately, the song is a brutal self-assessment, as Hammack castigates herself for “hanging around” far longer than she knows she should have in a marriage in which she has not been her authentic self. She repeatedly asks, “Ain’t that some shit?” with increasing resignation each time she repeats it. Her delivery is raw and emotional, and Hammack’s rapid vibrato only enhances the vulnerability in her performance. She isn’t the most impressive vocalist in terms of power or range, but “Small Town Hypocrite” absolutely plays to her strengths as a performer. Though it is not her first single, “Small Town Hypocrite” announces Hammack as a major talent worth following.

Grade: A-

 

4 Comments

  1. Caylee Hammack is a treasure. There is just something about her voice that is just great, and “Small Town Hypocrite” is such an amazing song and fingers crossed it goes to country radio.

    Out of all of the new women to emerge in the past couple of years (Caylee Hammack, Ingrid Andress, Tenille Arts and Townes, and Gabby Barrett) all of them besides Barrett imo have great potential and hope they can make a name for themselves.

  2. This is a very good song, although I do not know that I consider it especially country. Twenty or twenty-five years ago this would have been classified as Adult Contemporary or Middle of the Road and would have received airplay there.

    She has a good voice, but I’m not sure that counts for anything these days since such superior vocalists as Amber Digby, Teea Goans and Anita Stapleton have never been able to get airplay except on Willie’s Roadhouse.

    I would give this a B+ and I hope she can establish herself in some manner. I will check into buying some songs by the artists Raymond referenced above – I hope they are available on CD or vinyl !

  3. Really loving this! I also really like her voice. I would actually listen to radio more if they played more songs like this. Hope she catches on!

  4. Agree this is a very good song. Whether it’s considered to be country or not I don’t care. I’ll have to check out her other songs.

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