Nashville’s Paul Vinson returns with emotionally-charged ‘Keep Up’

Nashville’s Paul Vinson has been making his mark for some time now, putting that gorgeous voice and ability to write evocative songs towards growing an ever-appreciative fanbase. His newest single ‘Keep Up’ is certainly no exception to that and we might even argue that it’s his best song to date. Much like the British troubadour Sam Fender, Vinson is using his platform to promote local issues that matter to him. With ‘Keep Up’, it’s the sad and sudden loss of one of Vinson‘s old classmates to suicide that led to the creation of this touching acoustic pop track, and in particular how the unique culture of his hometown might have contributed the the poor mental health of the local youth.

Here, Paul Vinson goes into much further depth in order to extend our understanding of the event and the song itself:

“Keep Up was written after discovering a former classmate of mine had taken their own life. The lyrics fumble through fragmented thoughts and feelings from both my perspective and theirs. The agony of existential and religious trauma covered our hometown like a blanket, and our classmates’ participation in those beliefs often affected our own mental health. The chorus, which features the title of the song, simply repeats the words, “I don’t wanna keep up with you,” drawing parallels between their letting go of life and my letting go of God. The lyrics to the bridge exemplify those final moments, the letting go, the freedom we find in both death and in life, “just slowly building tension to the beginning of space and time.”

Overall, ‘Keep Up’ is a steady and sensitive guitar-led song that has the subtle timbre of americana, in order to ground it in the Nashville setting, but with the melancholic pop melodies that present the sorrowful state of affairs. As the song progresses, we hear a growing sense of frustration from Vinson, which eventually bursts into chaotically crashing drums, broken piano chords and furious guitar strumming, all around the two minute mark. The swell of emotion is clear, whether that be in this cathartic interlude or the heartened lyricism throughout the song.

Finally, Paul Vinson signs off by saying “I won’t keep up with you”, referring to his town’s toxic culture, and a lengthy instrumental outro gives the listener plenty of space to digest this emotionally-charged single. We applaud the songwriter for adding to the conversation around mental health and suicide in young men, it’s something that we should all be more alert to.

You can also listen to ‘Keep Up’ in our Folk This Way playlist.

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