Though he has five studio albums under his belt that have spring-boarded him into superstardom in the Texas music scene and well beyond that, Koe Wetzel’s first work came to us in the form of an EP.
His 2012 EP is called Love and Lies, and I would say it’s a little lighter on the love and heavier on the lies, but, that’s in keeping with typical Koe fashion… I guess some things never change.
Unfortunately, it’s pretty hard to find on streaming anywhere, seeing as it’s unavailable on Spotify and Apple Music. You can still listen to the entire thing if you have Amazon Music, though.
Luckily for you all reading this, there are some decent YouTube videos of some of the songs that will do the job just fine, especially if you’re hearing some of them for the first time.
And because this EP doesn’t get very much attention (in part because it’s nearly impossible to find), I wanted to shed some light on these songs and rank the project from my favorite one on down. I think a lot of people who have been fans of Koe for a long time will still cite this as one of his best projects (or at least their favorite), so if you’re unfamiliar with it, I’d definitely take some time to listen to the songs that are available.
It’s certainly more down the middle “country” than what his sound has evolved into in terms of being much more heavily influenced by rock and grunge these days, and I honestly love both and the variety in terms of his abilities as an artist and showcasing what inspires him.
And speaking of Koe going country, he’s been posting on Instagram from historic RCA Studio A in Nashville, which is where artists like Alan Jackson, Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton, George Strait, Loretta Lynn and countless others have recorded some of their most timeless hits:
I don’t know if that means we’re getting that country album or not, but it’s certainly intriguing that he’s been doing some work at RCA Studio A specifically… I mean, it would be really surprising in a way if he wasn’t recording some really country twangers there.
On the flip side, artists like Tony Bennett and The Beach Boys have also recorded music in that studio, so who knows… I should really stop trying to figure this out, because Koe’s been teasing it for years now and I still can’t decide if it’s ever going to happen, but I digress…
Without further ado, here are my rankings for all seven songs on Love and Lies:
This is my absolute favorite. It opens with him singing about how he still thinks about a girl he’s broken up with recently with some beautiful lyrics:
“I sent you a picture of 30-something roses, One for every day that you’ve been free”
The song as a whole focuses on the way he’s trying to move on, taking I-30 to get out of town and find a new start. He warns her that it’s too late to change anything, and he’s made up his mind about what he wants to do.
2. “Gotta Go”
The opening hook of this song is so freaking catchy. It comes in with heavy harmonica, as Koe talks about how he just threw away the pictures of his ex and burned a love note she wrote him.
The entire concept of it is really cool, where he finds himself in a perpetual cycle of drinking too much to forget her, and as the alcohol wears off, he realizes again how much he misses her. He comes to the conclusion that he’s “gotta go” to the next show and keep running (and drinking) to try to forget her again.
3. “Love and Lies”
This song has the classic, quintessential rock and roll sound we’re used to hearing from Koe. He finds himself torn between what to do with his relationship back home when he finds a new, hotter girl where he’s gone off to play football in college.
Yeah, it also has the same subject matter we’re used to hearing, too. Not totally sure if this one is based on a true story, but I’d be willing to bet that it 100% is.
4. “My Goodbye Song”
Here, Koe realizes that the relationship he was in wasn’t what he thought it was. He’d been lied to by his girlfriend, and realizes it’s time to move on. He leaves his hometown, to the surprise of the girl, to chase his dreams in music.
He assures her that she’ll one day be hearing his “goodbye song” on the radio while he’s out on the road touring. Guess he was right.
5. “Holding My Hand”
This might be the only true “love song” on the tracklist. He can’t believe how much his girl has been through, and he remarks how surprised he his that, out of all the options she has, she still chooses him.
It’s a sweet song and one that definitely stands out in his overall catalog, too, considering how rare it is that we get to hear this side of Koe in his music.
6. “Down to This”
This song is full of regret. It’s a break-up song where Koe is actually apologizing that this relationship ended the way it did and tries to forget how it all happened.
7. “Tear Drops in a Glass”
I know if you’re reading this and you already love this EP, you’re probably upset that I have it at last. And I get it- it’s not bad song by any means, but for some reason it just doesn’t stand out to me when I listen to the EP as a whole (I know, I’m probably the only one).
This track is a major change in tempo from the rest of them. It’s quite introspective, where Koe is lamenting a break-up and recounting how heartbroken he is over it. He recalls all the little things that happened that led up to the split.
What are your favorite songs from this EP? How would you rank them?