Around the release of her single “Spitfire” about a year and a half ago, Raised Rowdy founder Nicky T told you that North Carolina native Kasey Tyndall’s songwriting “has really been developing over her career. Her use of more personal topics and emotions have really shown who Kasey truly is at this part of her life.” Call it foreshadowing or just chalk it up to the fact that Nick is usually right about these things, but either way, Tyndall’s style has continued to evolve. Her newest single “Middle Man” may just be her strongest song yet, marking a distinct departure from her typical live-wire brand of country rock that usually falls somewhere between black leather jackets, whiskey shots, and Joan Jett. Instead, “Middle Man” finds Tyndall reflecting on her younger years, now looking at life in the rearview mirror where she used to watch through a backseat window.
The song stands as a true testament to Tyndall’s ability as well as that of her co-writer Lainey Wilson as it underscores the adage that there’s strength in vulnerability. Examining the impact of growing up with divorced parents, “Middle Man” chronicles the in-betweens that can build a person: car rides spent with your sister on one side and a suitcase on the other, the miles racked up from each home to “halfway,” and the back-and-forth of “momma said daddy said” in a childhood marked by intervals of “Texaco every other Sunday.” Throughout the song, the specificity in the lyrics sets a scene that flows in cinematic detail. In many ways, “Middle Man” seems to capture the essence of childhood itself, living in a space where time stands still and years fly by all at once.
As far as storytelling goes, the overall sound of “Middle Man” plays an integral role in the emotional weight the song carries. Tyndall’s vocals strike the perfect balance between fire and grace, rising clear and bright through each verse without losing any of the pride, resilience, or hints of sadness that the words evoke. The oscillating nature of the song’s events is mirrored by swirling guitars and drums that ebb and flow with the tide of emotion; this is all highlighted by crisp production courtesy of Jacob Rice.
Tyndall sings straight from her core, explaining that she’s a product of her circumstances rather than a victim: “I got a taste of rock and roll/it’s where I learned to talk to Jesus/and I made best friends with the road/ it’s where I got real good, I got real good at leaving.” In taking the good with the bad and learning from it all, “Middle Man” is the kind of song that hits you right in the chest whether you grew up with divorced parents or not. It has an almost tangible soul that you can sink into – a certain je ne sais quoi that commands your undivided attention from the first verse and stays in your mind long after the song is done.