Gas Mask Magazine

Justin Mattock: “By Your Side”

By: Eric Reyes
April 15, 2021

It says something to be a country artist and have a last name that matches a hand tool. Justin Mattock offers a surprisingly bright country offering in “By Your Side.”

Often there will be a tendency to lean on the deeper, darker elements of Country/Western. But maybe that’s the genre pitfall, idealizing both Country and Western as being trapped somewhere between the late 30’s and early 70’s.

The song is bright and pleasant. Instead of treading the deep ruts of back roads, blue jeans, some kind of pickup, name-brand or otherwise, it imbues mentions of these tropes with the individuality of the singer’s target of affection. There’s an individuality here that is served well by the lighter tone of Justin Mattock’s voice. Instead of trying to match the masters and grand traditions of the genre, the dark and dour tones and themes, Justin Mattock embraces the sunny rays of his vocal range.

I experienced this song alongside the lyric video, which has wonderful arial views of idyllic, rolling farmland, lakes and small towns. I really couldn’t envision any other representation of the tone or spirit of the track than this, and highly recommend you hunt it down on YouTube. A great track to put on and enjoy on the road, with someone keeping the seat next to you warm, hands touching, fingers laced.

Really the only way to do this track justice, if I’m being honest.

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