Bolingbrook singer-songwriter Brad Redlich said he didn’t grow up listening to country music, but he buys into it all the way now.
“Country was something I listened to later in life,” he said. “I went to Illinois State, and you’re surrounded by cornfields, so you either embrace country music or you hate it. I chose to embrace it.”
His last single “Bottle Down” along with the demos and covers of icons and favorite artists he streams on the regular showcase that.
Friday’s single release “Ain’t It a Shame” doesn’t broadcast Redlich’s traditional acoustic southern-rock vibe, but the spirit still lingers like the smell of whiskey even after the shot’s long gone.
Redlich — who took to recording and producing his music in an at-home studio since the pandemic locked Chicago down and his IT job set him to working remotely — has also been picking up some new production tricks he wanted to showcase on “Shame.”
“It’s definitely my hardest rocking song I’ve produced, written and recorded at this point. I just wanted to try my hand at a big blues-rock feel,” he said, going on to talk about how he was influenced by the Black Keys and the White Stripes in this song’s creation.
And it certainly shows an edgier side of Redlich’s songwriting. Venturing outside of his comfort zone on the acoustic side of country music, he brings out dark, heavy guitar riffs and a bolder sound. The song feels like a rock song but still plays like a country tune as he relates the noncommittal title phrase to the ending of a noncommittal relationship.
“That’s something a lot of people say when they don’t really care about a situation but they feel like they should. Like if someone says ‘So and so lost their job,’ or whatever and you didn’t know him that well, you’d be like, ‘Oh, that’s a shame.’ And then the conversation just goes on,” he explained. “So it’s kind of a tongue-in-cheek message where it’s like, ‘It’s a shame I messed up this relationship, but really I don’t think I cared about it that much in the first place.'”
The song follows a story of someone gauging the feelings surrounding a connection ending and coming to terms with its effects. Redlich said he draws from his own life as well as relationships he observes in real life and online. Telling those tales is what Redlich embraced when he first discovered country music.
“When I started making music, that’s the direction I wanted to head in. That mix between country and rock,” he said. “I really like the country songwriting style, and I like how it’s just storytelling basically. I feel like my goal is always to tell a complete story from start to finish through my songs.”
Through “Ain’t It a Shame,” which is out for purchase and on all major streaming services as of Friday, Redlich aims to showcase what he likes most about the country-rock crossover genre.
“I feel like I’m always learning something about life when I’m listening to country music, and that’s the type of music I want to make,” he said. “I like to make just fun catchy stuff, but at the same time I hope I could really get something out of the songs that I listened to, and that’s usually what makes me stick with it.”