Country music is changing in incredible ways right now, and few of its stars in the making exemplify this narrative as much as the Miami-based Stokoff does. Stokoff’s Latin country grooves are drawing a big crowd in his latest release, the all-new single and music video “Embrujo,” a song that is all about its coastal harmonies, fiery twang and rustic lead vocal, which together form a patchwork of memorable melodies that listeners outside of the hardcore country community have been taking note of. It’s a wonderful addition to what’s becoming a very interesting discography of western ballads and pastoral bruisers, and for all intents and purposes, it’s perhaps one of the more experimental and progressively-minded singles in the country genre to arrive in the marketplace this year.

URL: https://www.stokoff.com/

From the moment that the music starts to play right up until the second that it disappears from our speakers altogether, “Embrujo” is all muscle and no filler, with players (Stokoff included) utilizing a melody-forward instrumental centerpiece as integral to the storytelling as any verse ever would be. There’s no space for any of the standard pop frills that have driven so many of the previously Nashville-devoted away from the country genre in recent times; instead of weighing down the track with a lot of extra embellishments that wouldn’t have made sense in any capacity, let alone one as black and white as this one is, we get nothing but puritan content derived from a source as original and uncorrupted by the corporate model as they come.

The meld of aesthetics in this song is really impressive, and it’s surprisingly not scattered – even in its more eclectic moments – nor lacking in a sense of artistic swagger at all. Truth be told, I think that Stokoff is completely in touch with his creative goals here, and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that he’s on the cusp of delivering the full-color third installment to his album discography a lot sooner than later. He’s not holding anything back from us in this performance, and if this is just a sampling of what’s about to come out of his camp in the New Year, 2020 could bring him even more success than the last four years have collectively.

I was only somewhat aware of Stokoff’s music prior to now, but I plan on listening to his output from here on out. He’s giving us a clear picture as to what he wants to produce in his career in this track, and though the music video is a little stock when juxtaposed beside its experimentally-faceted soundtrack, I think that both releases make for interesting content if you’ve got a taste for country’s ever-evolving alternative scene. There’s still plenty of room for more growth on Stokoff’s part, but if there is anything that we can take away from his play in “Embrujo,” it’s that he isn’t just comfortable being in his own aesthetical skin on and off stage – he’s ready to expand on this sound and take it as far as he can go, which takes a lot of boldness (and bravery) in today’s cutthroat music industry.

Nicole Killian

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