From the coast of South Carolina comes songwriter Tom Mackell’s relatable single “Strange Times,” a quarantine-inspired anthem expressing the frustrations of an artist and socialite grappling with months of isolation.
Mackell is no stranger to the stage, with half a decade of performing and touring experience to speak of. It is from Philadelphia bars to Nashville recording studios that he has shaped his sound: a raw and grounded blend of Americana, rock, and the catchiness of pop. For someone who finds it most rewarding in connecting with their listeners, Mackell struggled with the prospect of not being able to share his music live on the tour he had planned for the summer that was inevitably cancelled, which spurred a streak of fresh songwriting.
Mackell made the move to Music City in the middle of this past decade, where he went on to release five singles between 2016-2018, followed by a five-track EP in 2019. With years of touring under his belt, he has performed with artists such as Ryan Montbleau, Sister Hazel, Tony Lucca, Charlie Mars, SUSTO, and more. From living and touring up and down the east coast, he’s has attracted a wide range of listeners.
His November release of “Strange Times” artfully captures the frustration, loneliness, and uncertainty amplified by by our current living situation, while providing a glimmer of hope and optimism that we can stay strong through it all.
Within seconds of hitting play, the cheerful guitar sweeps you away into a lyrical journey that narrates such a shared experience of this pandemic through smooth vocals and angelic harmonies. It creates an atmosphere reminiscent of a drive down a backroad or highway, with the windows down and fresh air whipping through your hair. Both a heartfelt ballad and a catchy jam, the nostalgic familiarity of those Americana roots will prove this song to be a timeless memory of this tumultuous year, like a fossil preserved in a shining casing of amber.
Find solace in the fact that you are not alone in your experience of these indeed strange times, and just as Mackell was able to successfully process his emotional duress through the magic of creating music, its healing powers work equally as well by listening to it.
“Strange Times” is a peak example of Mackell’s strengths as a singer-songwriter, and the category of artists as a whole. The best music comes from the heart, and none more so than that authentic storytelling born of the darkest places and lowest times. He is a welcome reminder of the power an individual can have when they pick up a guitar and poetically speak their mind.