‘Chatting Through Steel’ by Cole Gallagher is hugely powerful, both lyrically and musically. The words take us to the border, where Gallagher sings with heart and compassion about the plight of others. The message is tough: “I wasn’t looking here for free, // My blood and sweat will pay for me,” but Gallagher has the voice to match, with well-balanced melody and grit. This really is the sound of the desert. He is ably supported by David Hidalgo of Los Lobos, who also delivers an outstanding earthy vocal that transports us to desolate places. To have captured the attention of, and collaborated with, a GRAMMY-winning artist like Hidalgo is a real feat and an indication of how well-regarded Gallagher is already becoming, early in his career.
The beautifully-directed video follows Gallagher driving his old Ford pick-up through the arid, desolate landscape, before stopping and exploring a decrepit, abandoned home. It’s full of evocative visual details – a pair of glasses, ruined toys, old photographs, a rusted razor – the symbols of everyday life and the the things we leave behind when we move on. Such common-place objects ensure that we can all associate with the drama of this borderline tale and imagine what it would be like to discard our lives like these mementoes of lost hope.
This is a song full of humanity and heart, as well-crafted and performed as it is lyrically purposeful and poignant. Cole Gallagher is one to watch.
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