You Oughta Know: Briston Maroney

In case you couldn’t tell from the past couple years of NATIVE events and music coverage, we love hearing locals bare their souls over synths, drum machines, and lots of sub-bass. This new-ish crop of Nashville pop is, after all, what most of the kids in town seem to be making—plus we’re never mad about music we can dance to. However, this doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten about the alt rock most of us on staff grew up on, either. Call us archaic or stuck in the Obama-era blogosphere, but we’ll always have a soft spot for vulnerable coming-of-age tunes over (real) bass, drums, and guitars.

As of late, Briston Maroney is filling that indie void in our life. Since 2017, the twenty-one-year-old has put out three solid EPs, each of which has been more polished—in terms of production, playing, and writing—than the last. Indiana, the latest in that trio, seems like the perfect marriage of Maroney’s early folk material and the Kings of Leon-y stomp of 2018’s Carnival. This is a young writer refining his craft and honing in on what it means to be himself, and—judging by the power-pop hooks in “Small Talk” and the wise-beyond-his-years portrait painted in “Caroline”—it’s only going to get better from here.

Considering Maroney writes bittersweet rock for presumably like-minded old souls, it’s appropriate that there’s a tinge of sadness in his pick for favorite local restaurant. “International Market has always been a place I know I can see familiar faces of folks who gave me some of the best memories of my early days in Nashville,” Maroney tells us. “A part of my soul will be gone when it so tragically closes. Thank you for the memories, IM!”

Let’s hope we get a song about it closing (might we suggest a requiem to the pad Thai?). Listen to Indiana everywhere now, and don’t miss Maroney at Musicians Corner on June 22.