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Country singer-songwriter Becky Warren is not afraid to tell difficult stories. On her debut album, 2016’s War Surplus, she tackled tricky topics like PTSD and masculine stereotypes via an affecting storyline about an Iraq war veteran and his girlfriend. She’s back today (Oct. 19) with her sophomore LP, Undesirable, and this time, Warren is shining a spotlight on the homeless and impoverished populations in her hometown, Nashville, Tenn. She spent time chatting with street corner vendors and families looking for housing, and though her songs don’t explicitly fly like informational flags, the narratives feel so real and burst with humanity. The stories in her songbook may be heavy, but Warren expertly makes them about hope more than anything else.
Along with the album’s release, Warren is sharing a video for the track “Carmen,” which you can watch below. While the video is a fun, arcade-themed adventure that’ll shake loose memories of playing Pac-Man at the pizza parlor, the song’s story is another of Warren’s emotional tales, but certainly one of the lighter ones on the record. “Carmen” isn’t Pac-Man; it’s a “two-person game,” a love song about making things work. “Some day we’re gonna make ends meet,” Warren sings. “I’m gonna find a little blue house / We’ll peel potatoes on a couch someone left on the curb.” It sounds more like sludgy Southern-rock-meets-folk-pop than syrupy songwriter fare, like if Carrie Underwood jammed out with She & Him, which makes it a seriously fun listen.
Warren will play an album release show at Nashville’s The High Watt on Friday, Oct. 26, the same night her friend and mentor Amy Ray is playing a show next door at the Mercy Lounge. The venues are offering a joint ticket, allowing patrons to attend both shows, which you can purchase here. Ray also sings on Undesirable lead single “We’re All We Got.” Read our recent conversation with Amy Ray and Brandi Carlile here.
Undesirable is out now. Again, you can listen to “Carmen” below. Further down, hear Becky Warren’s 2017 Daytrotter Session.