John Askew & Shelby Merry

John Askew & Shelby Merry

John and Shelby’s paths first crossed when he relocated Ms Merry’s ‘When Darkness Comes’ from its folk/country origins to 2022’s club floors. Since then, John and the Ohio-born/Nashville-based singer have stayed in contact, always contemplating a follow-up to the track, and the opportunity presented itself with the 10-year anniversary of Shelby’s ‘Young Guns’ album. A plan was hatched to reimagine one of his favourites from its number.

Shelby’s essence meets John’s studio work, as ‘Steady & Stronger’s transatlantic collaboration recently drops. It was the song’s introspective braveries that first singled it out to hinm as it taps into the coming-of-age reflections that follow adulthood’s first meaningful happenings… the insight they bring, but also the toll they can take.


Musically, John’s highlights each verse/chorus progression with its own individual element. 303-seeded bass drives her opening words, while his cascading melodies catch Shelby’s ‘my God, I’m coming home’ refrain. Further in, the recalled honesty of ‘being young’ and sometimes being ‘too terrified to speak’, are underpinned by his long, drawn strings. 


Finally, John gates the synths and re-engages the drums, as tech jabs and multi-layered vocals emphasise Shelby’s ‘so this voice will sing harder, steady & stronger’ hook.

© justaweemusicblog.com 

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