Single Review: Houston Bernard – “American Dream”

Houston Bernard - American Dream single cover

image courtesy of Houston Bernard

by Eric Harabadian, Contributing Blogger

Single Review of Houston Bernard: “American Dream”

Singer-songwriter Houston Bernard has graced the Boston and Northeast U.S. music scene for years now. He has delighted audiences, with his emotive vocal style and rootsy Oklahoma charm. He has shared bills with some of country music’s finest such as Luke Bryan, Old Dominion, Marshall Tucker Band, and Clint Black. And now he is poised to join those esteemed ranks, with his latest single “American Dream.”

Houston Bernard

photo by Geoff Wilbur

“American Dream” tells a story that is simple in delivery, yet complex in content. Bernard spins a tale about two American kids from the heartland of the USA. In fact, they could be the grown “Jack and Diane” of ‘80s John Mellencamp-penned fame. But, in this case, the couple in question is Johnny and Annie. A lone banjo and electric guitar set the tone for the story followed by a strong, incessant beat. Johnny is a kid that grew up on a farm and continues to work the fields because it’s the family business, and he doesn’t wanna let his father down. Johnny marries Annie the homecoming queen, and they raise a family together. But after a while, reality sets in, as Bernard sings “A month lasts longer than money and Johnny’s coming apart at the seams.” As the couple tries to accomplish their goals in life, the “American Dream” seems tangible, yet murkily elusive.

“American Dream” is a song that seems to praise the hopes, aspirations, and values of the traditional United States while questioning them at the same time. It shines a light on that struggle. Bernard delivers a strong narrative and has a distinctive, dramatic voice. The guitar work on here is lively and wonderfully succinct. It really helps to drive the song home. It’s a tuneful single that is just starting to make some waves at radio and CMT.

Houston Bernard is a star, and it’s intelligent, well-crafted material like this that will pave the way. “American Dream”’s thoughtful lyrics and honesty will surely resonate with audiences for some time to come.

Looking Ahead

You can see the video for “American Dreams” on YouTube, but also be sure to watch for the video’s debut on CMT on Friday, August 14th.

If you’d like to catch Houston Bernard live, you have a couple chances coming up this month, per the Events tab on Houston’s Facebook page: On Thursday, August 13th at Breakaway in Danvers, MA, and on Thursday, August 20th at the Sea Shell Stage in Hampton Beach, NH.

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