Thomas Rhett, quickly rising the ranks of the country music A-list, has adopted a pop-tinged approach in his most recent project, Life Changes. While perhaps not firmly within the boundaries of country music, the album did demonstrate a sense of artistic growth. It represented an artist not only hitting his commercial peak, but also a comfortable artistic stride. Rhett has taken the lighter pop approach with his Spotify Sessions cover of Ed Sheeran’s hit “Castle on the Hill,” and it may just be among his most enjoyable recordings to-date.
What Rhett manages with the effort is to take the best aspects of the original – including the big, exhilarating chorus – and recreate them in a singer-songwriter acoustic context. While perhaps not an outstanding technical vocalist, Rhett makes the most of his range, putting a slight twist on certain lyrical intonations while maintaining the passion infused in Sheeran’s take on the record.
The most important quality of the record – and arguably in any situation involving a cover – is that it doesn’t feel like an Ed Sheeran cover, but rather like a Thomas Rhett original. While one could argue the two boast similar artistic qualities, Rhett sounds fully at home in the musical style of the song. The intensity of the record fits well into the more stripped-down setting, and the sentiments of nostalgia and camaraderie don’t feel out of place relative to the rest of his discography. Listen below: