Outsider Anthems: ‘Letters on the Marquee’ by Vincent Neil Emerson

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival)

At Outsider, we’re all about wringing every bit of life we can out of the years we have. After all, you never know when it’ll be time to punch your ticket and head to the Big Campfire in the Sky. The first step in getting all you can out of life is knowing your worth. It doesn’t matter if it’s in your personal or professional life, if you let folks walk all over you, you’ll never see the peak of your potential.

That’s why “Letters on the Marquee” by Vincent Neil Emerson is this week’s Outsider Anthem. It’s all about knowing what you’re worth and refusing to take anything less than that.

Vincent Neil Emerson included “Letters on the Marquee” on his 2019 debut record, Fried Chicken & Evil Women. Like most of the songs he sings, Emerson penned this one from his life experiences. Today, he has toured most of the United States and will be heading across the pond to bring his brand of country music to European audiences next year. He earned his success by being true to himself in his songs and in his life.

The lines “Don’t wanna be bought / Don’t wanna be sold / Don’t wanna be talked down to / Don’t wanna be owned,” sum it up nicely.

Carrying on a Texas Tradition

Vincent Neil Emerson writes in a style shaped by Texas legends like Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt. About the songwriters that inspired him, he said, “I think I’ve always gravitated towards artists that are honest about what they’re doing. It’s the most important thing because people have a chance to connect to a little more if you’re telling the truth.” With those words, he unknowingly explained why he has a passionate and quickly growing fan base.

He spent years playing bars and honky-tonks around Texas. Then, he hooked up with Colter Wall and they hit the road together. Later, Vincent Neil Emerson helped get La Honda Records started. Today, that label houses Emerson, Wall, Riddy Arman, and The Local Honeys.

So far, Vincent Neil Emerson has released two albums with La Honda. The first, his 2019 debut record, is pure country and western. On it, VNE blends humor, pain, and love to create a collection of memorable tracks. On his self-titled sophomore record, Emerson showed his pain to the world. The songs are poetic, personal, and pulled straight from his life. It’s hands-down one of the best albums of 2021.

Draw Your Line in the Sand

If you’ve ever been treated like a doormat or taken for granted, this song is for you. Whether in a personal or professional setting, most of us have been there. This track is a reminder that sometimes you’ve just got to realize that you’re better than a situation, pack it in, and move on. Somewhere down the road, you’ll find folks that respect your worth.

In the song, Vincent Neil Emerson lays out a couple of instances where he had to walk away. In the opening verse he sings about showing up to a gig, but the venue doesn’t have enough letters to put his name on the marquee. His response is pure Outsider energy: “Well, I’m loadin’ out / My line is drawn / I’m headed home / Watch me get gone.”

Keep that in mind the next time you feel like someone is ignoring what you bring to a situation.

More From Vincent Neil Emerson

If you liked “Letters on the Marquee” go check out “Willie Nelson’s Wall” from his debut album and “Saddled Up and Tamed” from his self-titled record. Honestly, both records are stellar from start to finish. VNE hasn’t cut a bad song yet.