Find Yourself in Madison Kozak’s ‘First Last Name’ [Listen]
Madison Kozak shines as a songwriter and vocalist on "First Last Name," her debut single. This tribute to dad is reminiscent of Miranda Lambert's "House That Built Me" in all the right ways. Cue the tears!
The Belmont grad distinguishes herself as a dynamic vocalist with great control during subtle lilts and tilts on lines like "Come home late with flowers" during the first verse. That quiet warble repeats itself throughout the track as if it's just a thing she does, no big deal. During the chorus her earthy voice flies high in the treetops, but most of the focus is on her storytelling: "First Last Name" was written with writers James Later and Claire Douglas for Kozak's father. What a gift!
The tempo and acoustic intro are what tie Kozak's debut to the song that sent Lambert's career to new heights a decade ago, but the way she pulls at heartstrings with little thoughts and ideas is similar to how Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin structure their song. Both songs also feature a great bridge — "First Last Name" finds the narrator's purpose during this walk down the aisle with the man who will give her a second last name. Few of us will fail to find ourselves somewhere in her lyrics, a difficult thing to do in under 3-and-a-half minutes.
Did You Know?: Kozak is the flagship artist of a new female-focused record label called Songs and Daughters, co-founded by songwriter Nicolle Galyon.
See 12 Female Trailblazers in Country Music:
Madison Kozak's "First Last Name" Lyrics:
He's a sun-up to sun-downer / Come home late with flowers / Pocket change on the counter / Pressed shirt and tie / He's one hell of a backseat driver / Pull over if you're tired / He's not much of a crier / Until you're halfway out the drive.
He's the sun of a salesman / Short glass old fashion / How's your car been running lately / Call your mama when you get home safely / He's sawdust and stain / My heart, my John Wayne / My first last name.
From a long line of tradition / With the guitars in the kitchen / You're either singing or doing dishes / You wash, I'll dry / We were truck stop Coca-Colas / Vinyl on Victrola / Tire swing magnolia / Taught me how to fly.
He's the sun of a salesman / Short glass old fashion / How's your car been running lately / Call your mama when you get home safely / My hall of fame / He's never missed a game / My first last name.
Yeah he set the bar real high / But I met a real good guy / Still not much of crier / Til we're halfway down the aisle.
He's the sun of a salesman / Short glass old fashion / How's your car been running lately / Stop on by, bring the baby / People they say, I'm more like him every day / He can give me away / No one can take, my first last name.