Sometimes, it takes a second to really get into a song before you can officially determine whether you enjoy it or not.
That wasn’t the case with “Tulsa Someday” by Justin Larkin. What actually happened went a little bit more like this.
I hit “play,” unknowing and suspecting of what was about to hit my ears. But then, not even two seconds in, I found myself speechless. The layering of the guitars reeled me in right away, and when I’m immediately intrigued, I can usually distinguish a truly amazing song. I kept my ears open and eagerly anticipated what would come next.
“By the time we made it into Tulsa // We were packing up to turn around
It’s almost like our exit always closes // Right before we make it into town”
One thing I love about country, Americana, and folk music is its imagery. It’s always so vivid. You can really envision the events that are taking place here. This song is a near-perfect driving song. Not only does it suit the moment of just being in a car on an open road, but it makes you want to get in the car and just go live your life like Larkin. I haven’t driven my car in months, but a Midwest road trip sounds more and more appealing with each listen. Despite never having even stepped foot within 100 miles of Tulsa, it didn’t matter that I was writing this from my college dorm room because I was there. Mentally and emotionally, I was an Oklahoman for the day.
“You know, Tulsa, sometimes it isn’t worth the drive // But someday, I’m gonna do you right”
I remember how I felt listening to this specific part of the song. It’s near the end, and I remember thinking after the first line that he finally got some closure on his relationship to the city, and I got excited. It was pleasing to the ears and the mind. But then, the second line came around and then I thought, “well, damn, so much for closure.” The relationship Larkin has with Tulsa itself is complicated, but it leaves room for open-endedness. You want him to do Tulsa right later on. It makes for a great story, and I’m a sucker for those
I’d ultimately describe “Tulsa Someday” as the perfect Americana song. It was like the influential genres just kept hitting me one-by-one. One minute, it’s a rock song with a guitar solo. The next, it’s country and folk lyricism staring right at you. Then, it’s bluegrass and blues. They just kept appearing and mixing with each other. I really can’t say enough great things about this song. You ever listen to an artist and think, “why aren’t they a bigger name than they are?” That’s where I currently stand on Justin Larkin, and I’m really looking forward to future work from him.