“Rear View Mirror” by Steven Markwardt

Nothing beats the discovery of a new artist that writes and sings the soundtrack to what you’re feeling, or what you’ve experienced. That instant connection – the way a singer can find the words and the tone to known emotion – well that is poetry in motion. Steven Markwardt does just that in his new country song, “Rear View Mirror”. While other country stars and writers might be aching over too much to drink, or even singing about fishing, Markwardt tackles the oh-so-real emotion of both physically and mentally moving on from a loving relationship.

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“Rear View Mirror” is from the Texas-based singer/songwriter’s debut album, Home Again. If you don’t get swept up into Markwardt’s suave vocals or mesmerized by the rhythm, then it’s certainly the swooping music bedrock that will tickle your fancy. He’s a natural at this, and the ease of getting into the music is just as wonderful. “Rear View Mirror” has a band backing that sounds like it’s right out the Texas honky tonks. A rebellious guitar, tinted with harmony and melodic tones. The drums have broad strokes and less of a kick and more of an orchestrated march. Markwardt matches the tempo of his heart with the drum and in his own way recreates the journey with now he’s faced: one foot in the relationship, but one foot out.

Rear View Mirror

Rear View Mirror, a Steve Markwardt original sung by Steve Markwardt, Mike Markwart and Scott Smith at the EDGE Coffeehouse in Lake Worth, Texas on March 9, …

Over and over his chorus rang in my ears, like a cowboy practicing the lasso. Each time it hits differently, and each time reinforces a movie. When you’re leaving a relationship it can also be sentimental and you replay the good times in your head, but you always come back to the reasons for leaving. I’ll see you in my rear view mirror, I haven’t left yet, but I might as well be gone, Markwardt sings. The electric guitar pines under him, just as though it were his conscience packing bags. The emotional toil is evident in his voice, but there is also a string of optimism running through its center. So much of this song has a vocal focus. At least that’s what I thought on the first spin. After letting the song marinate and sink in, the guitars and the bass rhythms really elevate the entire listening experience.

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No stranger to music, but relatively new to songwriting and guitar playing, Markwardt initially made his mark in music as the lead singer in Tarleton State University’s Langton Center Big Band. His press materials also note that Markwardt received a guitar from his wife in 2016, and has carved out a sound that is adjacent to the exceptional efforts he’s produced. Having written over 70 songs to date, Markwardt enjoys writing in numerous genres, including traditional country, western swing, Americana and more. He collaborated with producer/musician Dave Nachmanoff to write, arrange and record Home Again. Markwardt can play and it really shows in “Rear View Mirror”. From my view and my ears, there truly is no looking back when it comes to Markwardt. “Rear View Mirror” is the anecdote for listeners on the hunt for a solid country song.

Clay Burton