Remember the days when quality country ballads were a dime a dozen? Classic country artists of the late ‘90s and early 2000s spoiled us with a multitude of timeless gems. The modern-day country suffers from bland songs with the same wash, rinse and repeat the formula, which is evident in the genre’s desperation for a saving grace from crossover artists in the Americana, pop, indie folk, southern rock, and singer-songwriter genres such as Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, Kacey Musgraves, Margo Price, Maren Morris, Caitlyn Smith, and Faye Webster. As country music receives a helping hand from alternative country artists, it is refreshing when the twang-soaked voice comes into the spotlight.

Enter country music’s new beacon, Valierie Ellis Hawkins, a purebred neotraditional country singer with a voice that is unparalleled in the realm of contemporary country. Drawing comparisons to a generational talent like Hawkins requires deep digging in the country music canon and name-dropping heavyweights such as Trisha Yearwood. When a new singer seamlessly delivers a sound that warrants nods to country pioneers, it comes as no surprise that a debut from a voice as distinct as Hawkins' can pierce listeners more deeply than most modern-day country singers’ magnum opus ever will. And what is a more profound introduction to Hawkins than “Colorblind,” a feel-good song about love transcending race sung by a female who subverts the country music archetype?

Written by Tom Botkin and Noel Bohannon, “Colorblind” is a the song that will restore lost hope in the hearts of country purists while simultaneously challenging the genre to protect the integrity of its music from the gatekeepers who devalued it. As the subtle acoustic guitar and hushed percussion drive “Colorblind”’s classic country sound, Hawkins' country roots resonate profoundly in her voice. Before she finishes singing the opening line in the first verse, anyone listening will feel a sudden urge to teleport to the rural area in Tennessee where Hawkins has lived her entire life, persuaded that a sound this comforting can only be found in a quaint neighborhood in the South. When a voice packed with this much undeniable southern charm is paired with the refreshing lyricism that a genre has longed to see more of since its creation, it is impossible to ignore the track’s appeal.

The most moving element of this song could be its message about unconditional love, or maybe the song’s potency lies in its chosen messenger as much as the message itself. Hawkins sings, “Soon he’s turning ninety. She’s pushing eighty-nine. I guess their friends were wrong. It’s been a wonderful life.” It’s lines like these – sung by someone who not only admires the song’s ideals but also exemplifies them – that have the power to restore anyone’s faith in humanity despite the world’s current state of civil unrest. With a country voice as authentic as the singer’s connection to the song’s love story, very few contemporary country songs strike a level of poignance as deep as “Colorblind” does.


Colorblind by Valierie Ellis Hawkins
Release Date:   October 18, 2020
Tom Botkin: songwriter
Noel Bohannon: songwriter
Mike Rogers: producer, guitar, percussion, backup vocals, piano
Botkin Music (BMI)


Listen to my latest singles on the Music Page and see our Videos as well on Youtube!  Thank you for making my dreams possible.  Valierie!

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