Rising country music artist Troy Cartwright continues to build momentum with the release of his major-label debut studio EP Halfway to Houston. Halfway to Houston blends Cartwright’s many musical influences, Texas upbringing, and life experiences. In a press release the EP is described as the Texas native “tipping his hat to his home state.” Despite this being his debut studio EP released by Warner Music Nashville, you may have heard his major-label debut single “Hung Up On You,” which has garnered over 14 million streams on Spotify alone.
Cartwright opens his EP with the high-energy title track, “Halfway to Houston.” The track instantly pulls the listener in with a Southern rock-influenced guitar riff. This is the perfect opener track for the EP and sounds like it would be an incredible opening song for a live setlist in the future.
The next two songs, “Breaking Every Heart in Texas” and “God is Good” change the pace from high energy to a slower, more reflective feeling. Both songs combine the production of a traditional country ballad with vivid, emotive storytelling.
“Breaking Every Heart in Texas” tells the story of attending the wedding of a woman that he and many others loved. He conveys the intensity of the moment with the following lyrics. “I found a seat in the back/ I’ve never seen a church so packed/ Yeah, it was kinda hard for me to even show up/ Better see who the lucky guy was.” The chorus perfectly delivers how this wedding haunts more than just him. “She’s making all them cowboys jealous/ Wishing they could hear her say “I do” in his shoes/ But they all try to force a smile/ She don’t know it walking down the aisle/ She’s breaking every heart in Texas.” His vocal delivery and the song’s vivid imagery make this a standout track.
“God is Good” continues the similar reflective feeling, as he sings about how he believes that God is good, even when life doesn’t end up the way he wants it to be. Regardless of beliefs, this song has a universal message that reminds the listener to be grateful for the good things in life. Cartwright touches on some of the good things he’s thankful for in the second verse. “You see it happen all the time/ It’s a picked up tab in a checkout line/ It’s a tank of gas from a guy I never met/ It’s birthday number 93/ for the man whose name that they gave me/ We don’t know how many he’s got left/ So he treats every day like it’s a gift.”
“Hammer” picks up the pace again, but with a darker, more sinister sound. An earworm through and through that the listener will find themselves singing along to before the song has even ended. The production may differ from the other songs on this project, but its inclusion displays his versatility as an artist. “Shine on Me” brings back the lighter mood to close out the EP. The listener is taken us on a journey through Cartwright’s childhood, his musical journey, his love life, his heartbreak, and uses Biblical imagery. All of this imagery paints a picture of his upbringing, where he is in his life, and where he wants to go. “Shine on Me” along with “Breaking Every Heart in Texas” are two of the more vulnerable songs on this project.
Troy Cartwright is showcasing his superstar potential and his artistic versatility on this project. His emotional vocal delivery and descriptive storytelling set him apart from the crowd. Fans will be excited to hear that they can sing along to this project, as Carwright busy fall and winter ahead of him. In November, he will be hitting Tin Roofs across the country on the Nashville Hits the Roof tour. Then in December, he will be joining LANCO on their Honkytonk Hippies tour.
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