Premiere: Graham Stone Takes Down Country Swagger On New Single “Nobody”
This April, local troubadour Graham Stone will release his sophomore record, Bad News, a voluminous musical journey through roots music up to modern folk rock. Until that album’s release, Stone will be dropping a few singles from his record, each showcasing a different side of the record’s lyrical and sonic themes. Today, The Auricular is excited to premiere the latest track from that record, the tongue-in-cheek declarative track “Nobody,” available to stream below followed by a short Q&A with Graham Stone himself.
“Nobody” is, at first listen, a perfect country singalong. With its inviting melody and easy lyrics, it’s a song that instantly imprints itself on your memory, even if its true meaning isn’t easily identifiable. While it may sound like a roots interpretation of southern radio singalongs like “Friends Like Low Places” and “Red Solo Cup,” it actually debases the boastful tones those songs often take, making it fit more in as a country-western cousin of songs like “Chandelier,” ones that seemingly compliment a specific mood or scene even though they are actually confronting the hollow and shameful tone. Pulling this off requires Stone to walk a careful line, not veering too hard in one direction lest the song’s meaning become too overt or too covert, but it’s one Stone deftly executes on a stand-out track from his new record.
This marks the second single from Bad News, with Stone having released the barn-burner single “Tennessee Hills” in early December. Both singles portray a bustling sound from Stone, but with a remarkably different tone and approach that makes them stand-out and preview the depth of sound available on Bad News, which will look to expand upon the clever lyricism and ingenious songwriting he displayed on his debut record in 2017, Until The Day.
Bad News is currently scheduled to come out on Friday, April 12th, and before then, you’ll have plenty of time to catch Stone live in Richmond, with his next show occurring on Sunday, January 20th at The Camel, opening for Bonehart Flannigan alongside Justin Golden and Mackenzie Roark (more information on that show available at this link).
Until then, enjoy this exclusive stream of “Nobody” and read our quick chat with Graham Stone regarding the song’s meaning and placement within the theme and sound of Bad News.
It might be straightforward, but what does “Nobody” strive to get across thematically?
The overarching theme of Bad News as an album more or less surrounds the idea of choice, and the ways we engage with the world around us. Not in every song of course, but thematically, there are a lot of tracks on this album that talk about what we choose to focus on, how we choose to live or spend our time, and what we choose to celebrate. At the core, “Nobody” is a satire about a very particular kind of pompous arrogance. This song uses hyperbole to talk about being unkind or living selfishly in a way that is damaging to others and ultimately to oneself.
At what point in the album process did this song come about?
“Nobody” is actually one of the oldest songs on the album, if not the oldest. Aubrey  wrote the chorus to this song about our cat Beans years ago and we originally played it out together as a duo in the Whiskey Wells, and then later as a five-piece with Karla And The Brotherhood. But I’ve been wanting to record and shine a light on “Nobody” (and “Little River!”) for what feels like forever now, so I’m super jazzed to finally get the chance. Right after I decided on Bad News being the title track, I knew I had to put “Nobody” on this album too. Going back to thematics, I felt like both songs spoke to the same kind of idea — that how we choose to engage with or disengage from the world around us really does matter.
Listening back, how does this song fit within the scope of the Bad News record?
Bad News contains some pretty radically different sounds across the album itself. On one end are the more upbeat tunes like “Tennessee Hills” or “Richmond Town,” and on the other end there are some heavier tunes (both sonically and thematically) like “Oh Hell,” “Fighting For,” and “Celebrate.” I feel like “Nobody” and the title track “Bad News” are right smack in the middle of the spectrum. They both have accessible instrumentation and that familiar feel of straightforward songwriting that I love so much. My goal was for the middle of the spectrum of this album to be fun to listen to and sing along with, while at the same time communicating ideas that are real and important to me.
Both “Nobody” and “Tennessee Hills” have a very driving tempo, but are both polar opposites in terms of tone and mood. What made you want to release this track as the second taste of Bad News?
As I was listening through all the tracks, I just kept coming back to this one. I think it feels super appropriate right now given the ringmaster of our current political circus, but also because I think it showcases a wider glimpse into the subject matter this album contains. With each new song premiere, my hope is to slowly introduce another element of Bad News as a cohesive album and so I’ll probably look to premiere one of the more electric tunes next. Stay tuned!