It’s no secret that Scooter Carusoe is one of our absolute favorite writers. Lyrically, Carusoe’s writing retains simplicity while being just specific enough to conjure a beautiful and emotionally vivid image. While his songs vary in style, he shines most when it comes to emotionally driven ballads, capturing even the most painful moments in an understated way that makes them both heart-wrenching and relatable. Here are some of his most popular tracks, as well as a couple more must-listens.
If you like “Mean to Me” by Brett Eldredge
You’ll love “Sound of A Million Dreams” by David Nail
Brett Eldredge’s latest single has become country’s new favorite wedding song, and with lyrics like “if mine could be the name that changes yours,” it’s easy to understand why. The ballad is full of promise, with imagery that suggests just how important the woman and his connection with her is to Eldredge. While Nail’s “Sound of A Million Dreams” doesn’t describe a relationship, that same feeling of promise is there. The opening line, “Seger was singing words I could believe in and “Mainstreet” was my street that night,” sets a similar tone of hope, and while those hopes may not always be realized, they endow Nail with the power to create music, capturing his emotion in a specific but universally relatable way. “I labored for hours, ‘cuz I know the power of a song when a song hits you right / pour my soul into stories alive hoping someone will hear one tonight / maybe my voice will cut through the noise, and stir up an old memory / and out of these piano keys comes the sound, sound of a million dreams.”
If you like “Better As A Memory” by Kenny Chesney
You’ll love “All That’s Left” by Wade Bowen
This lyric from Wade Bowen’s “All That’s Left” perfectly captures Carusoe’s ability to weave imagery and emotion in a simple way: “I washed this jacket half a hundred times / but your smell don’t fade away like the blue / it’s all that’s left of loving you.” Combined with Bowen’s expressive vocal and the minimalist, guitar-driven production, this track is quintessential Carusoe. While he’s got the happy-relationship thing down (see: “Mean to Me,”) there’s something about the way he does heartbreak, pain, and complication that’s particularly gripping, and “All That’s Left” and Chesney classic “Better As A Memory” are perfect examples of that.
If you like “Guinevere” by The Eli Young Band
You’ll love “When They’re Gone (Lyle County)” by David Nail
“Guinevere” feels like the country version of Train’s “Meet Virginia,” describing a girl with tumultuous character and distinct appeal. Carusoe’s affinity for sharp, simple imagery is evident here, with lyrics like “she carries memories around like souvenirs down in her pockets / she should have let some go by now but can’t seem to drop it /
says forgiveness ain’t nothing but a lifeless tire on the shoulder of her soul that never rolls.” Compare with David Nail’s “When They’re Gone (Lyle County),” a Carusoe/Brett Eldredge co-write that, in signature Carusoe fashion, sports imagery that is beautiful, simple, and vivid, suggesting just enough: “she had hair tangled as the kudzu, legs as long as the trails that cut through those back acres to the river bend.”
If you like “Anything But Mine” by Kenny Chesney
You’ll love “The Secret” by David Nail
Yet another emotive ballad, Chesney brings an incredible performance to “Anything But Mine.” The song references a carnival and the ocean, telling a story of summer love coming to an end. Carusoe takes storytelling to the next level with David Nail’s “The Secret,” which details the drama of fathering a child raised by another man, as told at the mother’s funeral; “buried is the secret that was us.” The production is simple, letting the lyrics take the stage and allude to multiple meanings in simple expression.