The rustling of an acoustic guitar. The faint hum of an electric six-string haunting the background. A harmony as searing as the fiddles conjuring it up are. In “Embrujo,” Stokoff is pulling out all the stops to give us a one of a kind country jam accessible to fans of the old school Nashville model and the alternative country movement of today alike, and although it’s one of the more diversely colorful songs of its kind to debut this fall (as all of his material to see widespread release has been), this is a single that works for a couple of undeniably big reasons. Right off the bat, we’re getting a lot of textural expression from the instrumentation, and whether we’re watching the rip-roar music video or simply indulging in the track on its own, the energetic attitude of the players translates really well regardless. Stokoff’s brand of country isn’t like any other that I’ve heard lately, and while it’s yet to be determined how good (or bad) this is for the up and coming singer/songwriter, its uniqueness is on full display in the exotic “Embrujo” for everyone to judge for themselves.
There are a lot of influences in play here, with the most prominent being South American folk music and western-style country, but I don’t see these two as being the only defining elements in Stokoff’s sound. Contrarily, I hear shades of rock, pop and even a little bit of Latin swing, and while I can see it getting to be too overwhelming for novice music enthusiasts in a couple of spots, it’s a really intriguing cocktail of themes for the more seasoned critics and connoisseurs like myself.
I do not get the impression that he’s going for some sort of revolutionary hybridity in “Embrujo,” or really any of the tracks that he’s recorded thus far in his career; if anything, I think that this is an artist who is legitimately committed to being himself and playing the music that has always inspired him. The music video has a more well-rounded production value than the single does, but again, I don’t believe that sparkling polish was of any great importance to Stokoff here. He wants to flex some melodic muscle, show off his poetic abilities and, most important of all, bang out a fun groove that country fans everywhere can dance to this fall.
WATCH THE VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7J0-qaHWKs&feature=youtu.be
For better or worse, Stokoff is a country singer who is raising a lot of eyebrows in both the underground and the mainstream at the moment, and it’s easy for me to understand what all of the hype has been about after taking in this latest release. “Embrujo” is a big ol’ honky tonk anthem that doesn’t rattle as much as it rolls, and in the modern Nashville lexicon, that’s pretty hard to come by. I’m curious to see what he does to develop his sound further in the next few years, but whether he sticks with this blueprint in his future endeavors or not, I’ll be keeping him on my radar either way, just the same.