John Vincent III may sound like the heir to a generations-long throne, but rather than royalty, he comes from a long line of musicians. Born in Akron, Ohio, his grandfather’s soulful vocals and grandmother’s prolific piano skills are etched into his DNA, surfacing in his cogent musicality. Having amassed millions of streams across his 2015 Mountain Sounds album and his later High Ridge & Stones project, Vincent’s folk pop sound and intimate lyrics come together to strike a poignant chord. His latest single, “City Rain,” comes from his forthcoming EP, Songs From The Valley, and gives the listener permission to cry for no good reason–a moment we all desperately need every now and then.
If hindsight had a sound, “City Rain” would be it. Simultaneously coated in golden, lighthearted ambiance and heartbreaking honesty, the song spans a lifetime. Reflecting on choices, and expectations and their realities, “City Rain” is a look through the rear view mirror at life, inevitably asking what you’ll remember at its conclusion. He sings,
“You’re runnin’ through the city rain, livin’ life babe how you dreamed. It’s kind of funny how the clouds don’t mean a thing now. And I heard you’re living on your own, how’s it feel to pay for your own phone? You gotta a job now honey, and you did what you said you would do.”
It’s a bittersweet emotion that’s been ingrained in the modern psyche–the lingering question of whether we’ve lost sight of our dreams in the pursuit of material comforts and security. Vincent’s vocals fit the song like an old friend, gently filling the spaces with folky lament. Background vocals weave in and out of the topline, giving the guitar a subtle and soft place to land. Vincent’s affinity for soul-quenching doses of reality allows him to cut through the noise, and effectively creates an intimate moment of reflection for listeners.
Give “City Rain” a listen or two, or three, and keep an eye out for more from John Vincent III.