Country singer Justin Wells has a new single out today, “Hard Out Here,” a haunting yet hard-charging anthem about isolation in these times.
Wells wrote the song before the pandemic hit. But its message about loneliness resonates more strongly in the era of quarantines and social distancing.
Still, Wells said the song remains timely even as people emerge from lockdowns and restart their fast-paced 21st-century lives.
“You can be surrounded by folks, and still find yourself lonely,” Wells said of the song in an Instagram post. “Folks wrestle with this daily. They fall down, they get back up, they scrap with it the next day. This song’s for those people.”
‘Hard Out Here’ Tells the Stories of Three Characters
The single tells three stories about feeling isolated. One verse recounts a character’s sense of loneliness even amid their family members. Another describes the physical isolation of a demanding work travel schedule. And a third tackles the loneliness of a person on their death bed.
The theme that runs throughout the song is the notion of being alone even when there are other people around, an experience that many can relate to in this age of cell phone addiction.
“Hard Out Here” is the product of the same team responsible for Wells’s 2020 album, The United State. Duane Lundy produced and mixed the single; Justin Perkins mastered it. Wells’s sound is rounded out by Cheap Trick’s Daxx Nielsen on drums, Miles Nielsen on bass, Laur Joamets and Alex Munoz G. on electric guitar, Justin Craig on acoustic guitar, J. Tom Hnatow on pedal steel and Lundy on shaker and keys.
Justin Wells Released His First Solo Album in 2016
Wells previously served as a singer-songwriter and rhythm guitarist for the Kentucky alternative country and Southern rock band Fifth on the Floor, which he founded in 2006. But the band broke up in 2015. So in 2016, Wells released his first solo album, titled Dawn in the Distance.
A song off that album, “The Dogs,” received the 2016 Song of the Year award from Saving Country Music for its evocation of the fighting spirit in each of us “no matter how much life kicks us in the teeth.”
In between his two albums, Wells has released a handful of singles, including “A Love Song,” “The Dogs” and a cover of the Elton John song “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters.”