It's been an absolute roller coaster for Brandon Stansell. With the release of his sophomore album This Must Be the Place today, the singer-songwriter celebrates with a stripped down performance of standout track "Wild Ride," a saxophone-fueled meditation on life. "Oh I sung to a thousand empty bars / Waiting for my dreams to fall apart, now / I'm just a broken record spinning round in circles," sings Stansell.
A co-write with Mylen, the sweeping mid-tempo song makes good on its title, detailing every disappointment and heartache, as well as all the exhilarating mountain peaks.
"Just by being myself, I knew there was never going to be a straight line from point A to point B for me. I knew I would always be the unconventional type, the odd man out," he tells Wide Open Country, "but the thing is, that made my journey a more interesting one. It has seen me weather some real lows but also hit some pretty incredible highs and break new ground for people to come after."
Growing up in Georgestown, Tenn., folks often told him he "had the 'gift of happiness,'" he remembers, "and to be honest, I always thought it sounded kind of stupid. After all these years and all I've been through I've started to believe them ? and feel so lucky for that gift because it's meant somehow I've been able to laugh and smile along the way."
Stansell, now 35, stands triumphantly in the sunlight. He is finally happy. "Wild Ride" feels more than appropriate to encompass his entire journey. It's wistful, yet hopeful for what comes next.
"I love this song because it speaks to that full experience I've had: the good and bad," he adds. "But more importantly, [it] speaks to what's next, which is a future I'm even more excited about. But it's been a wild ride...and it's still a wild ride."
Check out the acoustic performance video below.
This Must Be the Place extends Stansell's 2021 EP of the same name, the follow-up to the Hurt People EP in 2020. Across the board, the 10-song project blooms with fuller musical colors and tones, finding the rising star expanding and flexing his songwriting muscles. From the moody jam "Did You Settle Down Too Soon" to the reflective closer "The God's Honest Truth," it is irrefutable evidence Stansell is operating on all cylinders -- and he's just getting started.
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