Trae Sheehan was raised on a small alpaca farm in West Virginia. Yes, you read that correctly.
The twenty-two-year-old left the backwoods behind for a life in both New York City and Nashville, and toured the country in his converted minivan, but always stuck to his roots. There is no lack of inspiration for Trae, even after his 2019 release Arizona reached No. 7 on the Roots Radio Charts and received international airplay. Sheehan’s latest album Postcards from the Country, full of stripped-down arrangements and personal stories, is slated for release on September 18th via his own Half Moon Records.
Postcards from the Country is a step in a more stripped-down direction for Sheehan, whose last two records felt more produced or polished than this new offering. That is not to say what is on this album is any lesser, on the contrary, it is a way to showcase the writing and intended emotion behind each track.
To Be Alone
No one wants to be alone, but more than that, we never want the one person we love more than anything to be alone. This is a love song at its core, a slightly twisted one, but a love song nonetheless. It was one of those songs that came out in only a few minutes as a pile of words on a page while I sat in my converted minivan in a Kroger parking lot in Nashville, TN. This is the song that began the writing process for this record.
‘Better Off’ is a song for anyone with something to prove. We can hear doubt everywhere we go, holding us hostage when we want nothing more than to be allowed to show our worth. No matter the profession, lifestyle, or personal history, self-doubt exists and this is my way of attempting to tell it off.
Everyone has at least one moment in their life that they can distinctly remember as a moment that changed them. For better or worse we all have moments like this, whether it be a mistake, a situation out of our control, or simply a moment when we saw something that opened our eyes to the world around us. ‘Changed’ is a story of one of those moments.
Fear of being hurt can keep us from doing things we should and make us do things we shouldn’t. Love and desire can do the same. This is a song that plays between the lines of love and fear combined with our tendency to revisit our own pivotal moments when we question where we’re headed. Both in our own lives and as a society. Sometimes we show our battle scars with pride and sometimes we try to keep them hidden. Our scars shouldn’t make us feel ashamed or afraid, they should build us up and be labeled as experience rather than reasons why or why not.
‘Paris’ is my take on the pressures of modern society to leave behind traditional values. We battle with ourselves to discover where we fit in amongst our peers and even those of us who know exactly what we want end up questioning ourselves and our own values. Self-reflection and change are healthy, but making ourselves feel that we’re wrong because we understand what we want, is not. There’s a middle ground somewhere and this is my attempt to find it, and along with it, affirmation for who I am.
For me, ‘Overcast’ is a rainy Sunday drive through the backroads of my hometown in West Virginia. Seeing the landscape change over time, families moving into and out of homes, and new roads taking you past new views of farmland and summer markets. It was written in the middle of a five-month tour I embarked on directly after graduating college. I had a day off in upstate New York and I was thinking about how circumstances change in people’s lives and how we can take it to mean they’ve changed rather than seeing how they’ve adapted. It’s a perspective that doesn’t garner as much attention as it should.
Over the Edge
I woke up around 3am from a nightmare in the final months of my college degree. Something about falling over a cliff’s edge because I was blinded by my anxiety of what my peers thought of me. I ended up staying awake and writing ‘Over the Edge’ as the sun rose. Sleep deprived, I played it to friends that day and knew it would be on a future record. We live in a crazy world and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Rather than trying to run away from the insanity, I believe it’s possible to find some form of happiness without sacrificing awareness.