REVIEW: Jarod Grubb — Hold On (SINGLE)
American country music isn’t nearly as one-note as some of its more vocal detractors would have you believe, especially in the year 2022. Right now, there’s an influx in surreal and romanticized singer/songwriters coming forth in the Nashville underground in what is starting to feel like a new wave of alternative country aesthetics, and of those artists that I have been keeping a close eye on in the early months of this year, Jarod Grubb has by far been the most intriguing. His new single “Hold On” captures the soft tones of the alternative country standards that came out of the woodwork some fifteen years ago while sticking to a rather traditionalist harmony structure, making it one of the few indie dispatches I’ve recently heard to exhibit the best of both worlds.
Lyrical substance isn’t something that this player is taking for granted in “Hold On;” if anything, he’s making it one of his top priorities right out of the gate. He’s got so much to say here, but he’s not rushing through the words with predictable rhymes that would best be kept on the sidelines — Grubb is taking it really easy with this beat, and poetically stringing together the fabric of a seriously emotional statement inside of three minutes and change. That’s not as cut and dry a process as it might sound, and compared to what a lot of his peers have been offering this season, you can tell that he’s very passionate about every verse he’s crooning to us here.
You can’t beat the harmonies in this single, and I honestly find them to be the greatest foundational element in the whole of the track, even next to the lyrics that Grubb is singing to us so eloquently. His relationship with the strings is so strong that there’s scarcely a moment where it isn’t difficult to tell where the reach of his vocal ends and that of the guitar begins, which says more about his skill set as a singer than it does anything about the production quality here. All in all, even if he hadn’t been using the polished look of this recording to advance a radio-friendly hook, I think this is one singer/songwriter who would still sound like a million-dollar melody maker with this material under his command.
I’m very eager to hear what Jarod Grubb is going to put into development next, and if it’s anything like what I’ve heard in “Hold On,” it’s going to be hard for him to remain under the radar in a city as bursting with energy as Nashville is. There’s a case to be made that indie country is on top of the world right now next to another batch of straightforward songcraft winning favor on the mainstream side of the genre recently, and given the experimentalism that Grubb is showing off in this track, I think he’s on pace to put himself at the forefront of an expanding movement a lot sooner than later. “Hold On,” simply put, is a standard-raising release for this man.