Listen closely: perhaps cup a hand around your ear, and tilt it to the northeast. Aside from the sound of Bills’ fans crashing through tables in preparation for Saturday night’s game, there is exciting new music drifting down from Upstate New York, and it’s brought to you by folk-pop singer-songwriter Stephen Babcock.
In his new single “Bullseye,” which dropped today, Babcock pines after a lifelong love like Cupid with a stock full of wishful arrows. The song is set to appear on his junior release, Monroe, alongside his pair of fall 2020 singles, “Notting Hill” and “Bowery.”
Babcock has been surrounded by music his whole life. His father and older brother inspired him to try songwriting, and since spending over a decade dedicated to the art, he has become a Nashville regular, often stopping through town to write and perform. The Americana, southern rock, and indie folk artist brings this long-earned wisdom to his own music, which was also heavily shaped by his time on the road when he challenged himself to broaden his musical horizons and worked with a variety of artists. These travels included him fulfilling opening slots for The Bundys, Canyon City, William Hinson, Girl Blue, and others. Such steady commitment and involvement with music has gifted him with the blessing of no shortage of songs, as he’s been on a roll steadily releasing singles since his 2018 EP, Fiction.
When not working on music, you can find Babcock rooting for his beloved Buffalo Bills, and spending time with his fiancee. Also an avid beer fanatic, he has his own brewing company in the works, Big Hate Brewing, and frequently reviews local craft selections.
Now, with his album Monroe inching closer and closer to completion, “Bullseye” offers a delightful enticement of what’s to come. It’s a personal favorite he enthusiastically described as, “probably one of the best songs we recorded in all of 2020.” It is a story of winning back that old flame that never got a proper chance to grow into a raging fire after they kept slipping through his fingers, and backed by a cheerful guitar riff and narrated by his raw vocals.
Babcock claimed it was one of those songs that “basically wrote itself,” but he, along with co-writer Mando Saenz, are certainly to be credited with the clever lyrics that stay true to the analogy running through the whole song as a guiding force. The music itself bears the same nostalgia as the subject matter, as he narrates their history of passing ships and missed chances, the listener enjoys a well-paired blend of ambient background vocals and soft drums that similarly convey the emotions from his words.
If creating a groovy song with the vintage charm of John Mayer but with a strong hint of Brad Paisley’s grounded country roots was his target, Stephen Babcock certainly found his mark.