Nashville based singer-songwriter Henry Conlon is back with an emotional new single that reflects on the hardships of being a blue-collar worker in small town America today.
The new release, “Die Like a Poor Man,” ventures into the heavy, stadium-country sound, but the lyrics carry the tender and true emotions he’s been known for. The track begins with a gentle acoustic guitar progression, and soon thereafter, the full band kicks in for the powerful introduction, and it’s off to the races from there.
Regarding the opening verse Conlon says, “Zach [Scott Kline] and I really wanted to introduce the listener to the idea of life in the small forgotten towns of America. He and I have been spending a lot of time on the road recently and done some extensive traveling through the U.S. in the past, and you see a lot of these towns that lost the jobs and lost the hope and that spark because of it.”
Conlon established the beginning of his discography in 2019 with his debut album, Home, which was recorded with Eric Lichter at Dirt Floor Records. The opening track, “I’m Coming Home,” attracted the most attention with its elaborate storytelling and authentic country-Americana sound.
As it became a signature song for Conlon, in 2020, he re-recorded it with Donnie Reis and Joel Jorgenson, creating a more stripped down iteration showcasing the vocals and guitar. It was especially effective in letting the poignant meaning in the lyrics shine through even more. Conlon’s first release of 2021 was a single entitled “Lucy,” a more upbeat track different from the melancholy nature of his previous releases.
The instrumental within “Die Like A Poor Man” contains a multitude of arrangements that enhance the message, such as the strings in the back of the mix, the vocal harmonies that enter during the bridge, and the soaring guitar solo that the vocal harmonies support. To top it off, the final chorus ends with a vocal tone from Conlon that carries that heart-wrenching, pleading feeling he’s singing about.
Conlon went on to say, “In the chorus we really wanted to have the questioning and the desperation of the story come through in the lyrics. The last thing we wanted to do was paint anybody in a negative light, so we positioned it so that the idea of being cast aside by the very system and dream that the narrator had fought for leaves this emptiness in faith in both their God and their country.”
In addition to the song, Conlon also released a video of him and co-writer Zachary Scott Kline performing an acoustic version in a vast field in the middle of beautiful Belt, Montana, as the wind blows and their dueling guitars support Conlon’s hearty voice.
In regards to the song as a whole, he said, “A lot of stories that come out of these forgotten towns really focus on that idea of ‘getting out’ and making it somewhere else. For a lot of folks in a lot of places in this country, that ticket out is the military and every day there are young men and women who give their life for that ticket out.”
You can catch Conlon playing throughout Nashville sharing his songwriting prowess with all who will listen, and he and his band, dubbed The Odd Dogs, may just wind up in a small town near you.