Song Review: ‘Saying Goodbye’ by Shelby Lynn Madison

Born and raised in a small town in Virginia, 21-year old singer-songwriter Shelby Lynn Madison is the perfect candidate when it comes to rising to the top within the industry of country music. The singer made her way over to Nashville only recently to share her music inspired by her Christian values and upbringing in a rural area. Her debut EP is coming out later this year, produced by Ken Royster – known for working with country legend Luke Combs – and Jake Parshall, of which ‘Saying Goodbye’ is the first single. 

‘Saying Goodbye’ tells the story of the aftermath of a breakup. The song opens with the twanging of an acoustic guitar that Madison keeps on playing throughout the track. Right from the first notes onwards, it is clear how raw the pain is this girl is singing about. Her soft, typical country sound sparkles with a sense of longing and nostalgia, reminiscent of Taylor Swift’s debut album. Madison sings that goodbye was never expected, but that “the wolves are knocking at [their] door” now. 

In the chorus, Madison makes it even clearer that love simply isn’t always what one expected it to be, and even though saying goodbye “never feels right”, it is sometimes inevitable to have to let go. 

The second verse manages to sound haunting, in a way, and makes the listener feel like the story is happening all around them. Madison makes it easy to envision the surroundings this “right place, wrong time” trope is taking place. It’s bittersweet, especially when she makes clear that the partner she has loved and lost is now “dragging her name all through town”. Her ability to capture this imaging is especially magical considering the song was written in only an hour and a half. She poured her whole heart into this song and made her unique voice and use of ethereal acoustic melodies intertwine in a promising way. The listener is treated to a small acoustic break right before the bridge and final chorus. “Love just ain’t enough”, sings Madison – something everyone who has ever gone through a break up can in one way or another relate to. As hard as one tries to make it work out, sometimes it just doesn’t. 

The track has no big climax, but it honestly doesn’t need it. It’s easy to listen to, easy to relate to and the softer outro only makes one want more. Managing to do all of this at just nineteen years old is extremely promising for Madison’s future. Chasing her dreams in Nashville, it is certain that her debut EP will be even better – her authenticity and promise of staying true to her roots will certainly catch the eye (and ear) of many. 

Written by: Mandy Huibregtsen

Edited by: Lee Klaver