If you think you have Oliver Tree figured out, think again. For the past ten years this platinum selling vocalist, producer, writer, director, and performance artist has boldly explored the intersection of art and entertainment — and his new and final album Cowboy Tears sees him carefully crafting a “cowboy emo” aesthetic unlike anything you’ve seen or heard. “This is a very emotional album, and it covers a lot of big themes like heartbreak, addiction and suicide,” Oliver explains, adding that over the past two years he wrote over 100 songs and collaborated with artists ranging from Blink-182’s Travis Barker to Nine Inch Nails’ Ilan Rubin to friends he’s known since childhood in a quest to complete this collection. Produced by Oliver with the likes of Marshmello as well as John Hill (Bleachers, Wu-Tang Clan), the result is an album that expands on the sound of his breakthrough debut Ugly Is Beautiful and further blurs the sonic line between pop and alternative in a way that’s nostalgia-inducing while still looking toward the future.
The Santa Cruz native has already established himself as a groundbreaking artist in the worlds of music, comedy and action sports as he creates the musical equivalent of immersive theater for his legions of fans. Teeming with hits like “Life Goes On” and “Alien Boy,” Ugly Is Beautiful displayed the different sides of Oliver Tree’s music. However, for Cowboy Tears he decided to craft an album that was more focused that draws equally from the genres of alternative, pop and country and takes sonic inspiration from the last 60 years. “For this album, I was chasing the sound of a song I heard in a Taco Bell when I was five years old,” Oliver explains, “But I wanted to put a modern spin on it with modern production.” As strange as that may seem on paper, listening to Cowboy Tears, Oliver’s statement makes perfect sense: This is an album that feels strangely familiar yet experimental in ways that are as exhilarating as they are shocking.
Most recently, Oliver has written two feature length screenplays and has been perfecting his craft as a director, writer and producer through his big budget music videos which he prefers to call short films. So could this really be the final Oliver Tree album? Only time will tell. Right now it’s time to channel your inner outlaw and dig deep into Cowboy Tears. Whether you’re here for the shimmering hooks, high-art aesthetic, personal reckonings or just a healthy dose of social commentary, you’ve come to the right place, partner.