If anything else is as American as mom and apple pie, it’s strumming your acoustic guitar in a pasture decked out in a cowboy hat and boots. “Cuts So Deep,” the new video and title track of the new album by Austin singer-songwriter Graham Wilkinson delivers a heapin’ helpin’ of down-home feels. The video, which we’re premiering today, was shot behind Signal Hill Recording where Wilkinson recorded his latest album with his friend and producer Patrick Herzfeld.
But the pasture in the video is also where Wilkinson buried his dog, Crooked Head Red, a couple of years ago.
“My wife actually shot the video. It’s sentimental, the scenery is familiar and it’s an authentic visual representation of where we made the music folks are hearing,” Wilkinson said in an email.
“Authentic” is probably the best adjective to capture Wilkinson’s vibe. The musician and family man played more than 200 shows a year before COVID-19, and his single “FOCUS,” off of his 2011 release, The Spiritual Accessories EP, was the most shared, most commented on and most viewed for over a week on MTV.com. And he’s done it as an unsigned independent.
Wilkinson’s music studiously avoids the achey-breaky silliness of so much overproduced country music. “Cuts So Deep” features strummed acoustic guitar and a solid backbeat. The song evokes comparisons to both Tom Petty and Nathaniel Rateliff with its unadorned emotionality. Instead, Wilkinson seems dedicated to life’s simpler pleasures.
“I was just trying to write a song expressing the most important thing I wanted to communicate to [family] while I was on the road, which are the words in the chorus: ‘I miss seeing your smile, miss seeing your face,'” he said. “The bittersweet element in the song has taken on a more universal sentiment now as everyone is struggling with being separated from family, friends and fans.”
While the song was written before COVID, the video takes on the isolation related to this pandemic head-on.
“You can see it in all the faces of my family, friends & fans that sent me their videos singing along with me during the chorus,” he said. “There is a physical distance between all of us nowadays that is having enormous detrimental psychological and emotional effects. The song resonates not just with Americans, but everyone all over the world. One of my friends in the video, Tomoaki, is from Japan and shot his video with Mt. Fuji behind him. Another shot is our family friends who live in Guam. So, even though it was initially an extremely personal song about anyone whose work keeps them away from their loved ones, the song allows the listener to think about the ones they are currently, personally missing.”