Steve Markwardt’s debut album Home Again features the country kicker “Rear View Mirror”. Tightly arranged and having odes to classic country tones, Markwardt’s voice is full of integrity. Just as the sweeping harmonies can transport a listener to a different time, yearning for nostalgia, “Rear View Mirror” holds its own in both the past and present. Markwardt’s song about knowing that it’s time to move on, and even still being in a relationship, is relatable. What’s even more universal and entertaining is the sonic escape.
Writers and listeners like to talk about how songs like “Rear View Mirror” linger or hang in the air for hours after a first listen. I found this very true in Markwardt’s tune. The chorus is especially catchy: I’ll see you in my rear view mirror, I haven’t left yet, but I might as well be gone…the natural twang in his Texan voice hits the notes perfectly. I think that accent and the way his voice twirls around the electric guitar swells together in all the right ways. Markwardt’s stellar when he’s singing the chorus and I almost became addicted to those words. They ran around my head for quite some time. There’s something very romanticized about his voice. Maybe it’s because he’s a cowboy from another era, or a stand-up gentleman. He infuses these images into the listener’s imagination.
Markwardt’s lead guitar work is sensational. I think fans of country rock, even though it sounds very Texas country will like this. I also think fans of the Eagles, Poco and Pure Prairie League will dig the guitar and music bed. Drum wise, the percussion is unexpectedly rumbling. I was thinking it would just be another run-of-the-mill country tune and it surprised me with the mix. I felt the percussion movement and the bass lines, too, were evident. That doesn’t always happen for me in country songs, so I have to give kudos to Markwardt for having such a complete-sounding single. He takes all the good ingredients of Texan music and gives the listener a fine taste for their wide musical pallet. He really drives home that sound, but he never overdoes it. As a listener I was more than satisfied and fulfilled with the final track. Just like Texas, the grand sound and larger-than-life guitar fills the heart.
Markwardt hits a home-run with “Rear View Mirror”. Vintage guitar licks and a helluva backing sound, Markwardt’s overall vocals are polished and ready for primetime. Strangely enough, as much as I wanted to dance to this song, the more it calmed me and grounded my thoughts. He just makes you feel good — even though he’s singing about leaving it all behind and moving on from a relationship. He has that good guy and every day hero way about him. He doesn’t project the down-on-his-luck attitude you might think it’s about. Sure, he sings about having no money left, but contained in his voice is the modesty and truthfulness of a man that maybe just has had it. Haven’t we all been there?