Vincent Neil Emerson grew up in Myrtle Springs, a small East Texas town in Van Zandt County. But it was a move to Fort Worth when he was 20 that led him to discover the Lone Star State’s other Van Zandt, the one whose music would change his life. “Fort Worth really opened my eyes,” Emerson says. A fan of folk icons like Bob Dylan and the classic country records he grew up listening to, Emerson found a community in Cowtown that showed him he had plenty of company in that musical sweet spot. “In between those two [genres] you find people like Townes Van Zandt and Blaze Foley, Guy Clark and John Prine,” he says. “Once I discovered those people, my outlook on the world—as well as music—kind of changed.”
Once he began performing in Forth Worth, Emerson quickly graduated from local gigs to national tours, hitting the road with fellow Texans including the Turnpike Troubadours and Charley Crockett. He released his debut album, Fried Chicken and Evil Women, in 2019. Most recently, the 28-year-old found himself on the road with the lauded Canadian country singer Colter Wall, an experience that inspired his new single, “Road Runner,” which G&G is proud to premiere.
“Every day of that run with Colter felt like we were living in a Jimmy Martin song,” Emerson says. “I felt like I needed to try and capture that feeling as best as I could. My wife used to give me Road Runner trinkets and pins all the time, and it became our special little thing. I’d carry around this Road Runner pin with me for good luck. It reminded me of what was waiting back at home for me.”
On the song, his first original release since Fried Chicken, Emerson’s quick-picking guitar twang and loose, relaxed vocals immediately evoke the feeling of the open road. Wall’s deep, recognizable voice makes an appearance, too. “I wrote it after the first tour I did with Colter, and I started playing it on the next one,” Emerson explains. “He would always sing along to it in the dressing room, so when it came time to record it, I thought of him to record one of the verses.”
Stream “Road Runner” below, and keep an eye out for more from Emerson in the coming months. He’s hoping to be back on the road as soon as circumstances allow.