Much like the legend of Elvis, rockabilly’s popularity comes in and out of fashion with the times, and Josie Cotton and Kevin Preston are looking to give it a much-needed shot of life with the release of their new single “The Ballad of Elvis Presley.” Rather than overstating the groove in this track, as is a part of the traditional model for rockabilly, Cotton and Preston are experimenting with an excess of melodies in this release, giving a lot of attention over to the seamlessness of their sound as opposed to the technical ecstasies of their actual performance.
The concept behind “The Ballad of Elvis Presley” doesn’t get in the way of the raw aesthetics of the music, and I would even say that the humble stylization of the execution gives the melodic properties in the song all the more spotlight. Had Cotton and Preston been just a bit more forceful with the harmonies in this track, we wouldn’t be able to appreciate the dexterousness of the melodies as they stand independently from the rhythm, which was one of the main reasons why I wanted to cover the song in the first place.
Americana in all its many forms is getting a boost in affection from a younger generation of listeners at the moment, but for those who are looking for a non-trend-influenced element in the rockabilly subgenre, you really can’t go wrong with what Josie Cotton and Kevin Preston have to offer audiences via “The Ballad of Elvis Presley” this July. As both a single and a music video, “The Ballad of Elvis Presley” is a piece that doesn’t insist upon forcing a narrative on those who give it a spin, but instead invites us to get lost in the groove of its percussion much as we would the swinging of the king’s hips some sixty years ago.