On July 17, Exit 216 — one of country music’s newest upstarts — released a beautiful video for their debut single, “Brother.”
“We wrote this song because we wanted to do a song that brings people together with love and unity,” the band said in an email statement to American Songwriter. “We write at our best when we feel the most pressure — this year has been a stressful time for America as a whole.”
“Brother” is a very unique song in the annals of country music in that it addresses the current divisions in our country from a rare and much-needed point of view. By acknowledging their differences and then overcoming them, Exit 216 focuses on what unites us, as opposed to what divides us. While not every American has the same experience, at least a good chunk of the country music audience can recognize the cultural symbols of freeway exits, corner markets, high school football games and hanging out in the bed of a truck.
See, this is important because country music is the heart of our nation. As those of you who watched Ken Burns’ Country Music know, the genre has long been a major source for American expression and cultural dialogue. From Johnny Cash to Loretta Lynn to Vince Gill, many important paradigm shifts in popular music have been spurred by those gracing the stage of the Grand Ole Opry.
While Exit 216 isn’t gracing the stage of the Grand Ole Opry yet, they are making quite the statement in their new strain of country. “We want our listeners to walk away with the drive to love thy neighbor and be kind to one another,” the band said.
Watch the video for Exit 216’s song “Brother” below:
Photo Credit: Yuri Figueroa