Ralph Curtis’ “Man You Want Me To Be” is a Late-Night Lament for the Ages

All images courtesy of AMW Group

By Andrew Daly

Florida-based Ralph Curtis’ journey from humble origins to professional recording artist has been a story of hard work and late-night perseverance.

Curtis’ influences are apparent to careful listeners, but his music is far from redundant. In the case of “Man You Want Me to Be,” Curtis’ plaintive delivery, delicately laid over gentle piano chords, is the ultimate example of saying a lot without overdoing it.

The track itself is one that anyone who’s ever endeavored to chase the “American Dream” can relate to. We all want stability, a place to lay our heads at night, and someone to lie next to as we draft off into gentle sleep each night. Listening back to “Man You Want me to Be” evokes emotions often felt but seldom expressed.

“I can’t promise you the world, but I can give you everything in between,” finds Curtis expressing something we’ve probably all felt before: the idea of simply not being enough and solemnly serving up all we have to give.

Curtis continues the heart-lacerating verse, “I can’t pull the moon and the stars, but I can give you something; a shoulder to cry on, a rock you can lean on, a bed where you can sleep,” with the vocalist lamenting that while he lacks the strength to move mountains, perhaps setting up shop in the shadow of its base is enough after all.

All images courtesy of AMW Group

The live version of the cut is particularly raw and, even more, stripped back. As Curtis closes his eyes and forcefully rips sincere sentiment from the depths of his heart, you can hear the gravel in his voice as he weeps, “No, I can’t offer much, but I can be the man you want me to be.”

It’s an emotional, contemplative moment, and one can’t help but pause – if only for a moment – and reflect on the trials and tribulations that brought this moment, in this place, at this time, on.

Ralph Curtis has gigged up and down the east of the U.S. for some years, spending late nights in dive bars and telling his story via song. It seems that his determination to succeed is finally paying off, and if the 5 minutes of country bliss that is “Man You Want Me to Be” is any indication, for Curtis, the sky is the limit.

Listen to the live version via YouTube here.

Andrew Daly (@vwmusicrocks) is the Editor-in-Chief for www.vwmusicrocks.com and may be reached at andrew@vinylwriter.com

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