time to change the way we view music and the arts

Katie Pruitt is too fired up and focused to “Look the Other Way”

Cover art for Katie Pruitt's single, "Look the Other Way"

Image courtesy of Rounder Records


Remember being in elementary school and, perhaps during the weekend, catching a glimpse or even having a full-on run in and conversation, with one’s teacher? The prospect of a teacher not being at school seemed mind-blowing. Didn’t teachers live in their classrooms, sleep under their desks, and keep secret snacks in their classroom cabinets? Teachers didn’t have real houses, or shop at the mall, or eat at the same restaurants as their students!

Herein lies the distortion of the “shut up and play” music listening crowd and it overlaps right with how children see their teachers: not as fully realized people. Teachers only teach and they live at school. Musicians only write songs meant to make others happy or comfort them in a specifically positive way. Both of these outlooks are severely incomplete. That’s why whenever a musician or songwriter reminds the public that they are in fact real people dealing with the same real problems as non-musicians by way of a song or album that addresses said real feelings and real problems, the idea of telling them “No, that’s not okay,” sounds so ridiculous.

To that end, Nashville singer-songwriter Katie Pruitt is just the latest artist to unleash a new song that runs right through the silencing barrier of one-dimensional listening and the results are simultaneously piercingly honest and melodically magnetic.

Ask pretty much anyone what their thoughts on the year 2020 are and there’s bound to be a sizable amount of frustration and stress sewn into the response. Pruitt, who has shown through her widely praised debut record, Expectations (Rounder Records, 2020), a thick skin for bearing harsh realities, is no stranger to sharing intense truths in music. In this way, her latest, titled, “Look the Other Way,” emotively picks up right where Expectations left off. The difference now, is that while Pruitt’s debut is a look back on what she dealt with, processed, and eventually overcame as a child, teen, and young adult, this new single is squarely placed in the present and speaks to things intersecting with, but happening largely outside of, Pruitt’s singular existence. The opening lines set up what is a very observationally-minded and reactive vantage point rather than one of solely internal recollection.


They bulldozed over the memories
To build apartments with amenities
And left the low income families
Broke on the outskirts of town

Might be the change on surface that bothers me
Or the underlying lack of humanity
Might be a little of everything
But I can never quite pin it down

– Lyrics from “Look the Other Way”


It’s a response – given in nearly real time – to frustrations with an unheathily selfish social order, perpetual political callousness, and culturally accepted ignorance within the United States that are in some ways presenting risk to Pruitt as an individual but, in many other ways, are sentiments and tribulations permeating the lives of the greater public as well. Yet, despite being just one of many who are likely to resonate with the broader topical lines she has penned, the lyrical finesse Pruitt brings forth to air her observations and subsequent aggravations, gives “Look the Other Way” the same dimension of deeply individualized, artistically nuanced personality that Expectations’ very autobiographical body of work had. The song’s wordplay is exceptional and cuts right to some very identifiable sentiments that are liable to leave many listeners screaming (either internally or externally) with satisfying emotional validation for how they’re feeling about the current course of their day to day lives.

Sonically, “Look the Other Way” is a clear demonstration of Pruitt exercising a more decidedly indie rock-slanted muscle in the studio than the more acoustic, light-toned affairs of Expectations. Nevertheless, it’s hardly a swerve of uncomfortable proportions – especially when recalling how dynamically strong, unwavering, and honestly presented Pruitt’s vocal belting was on her debut. It’s one of her boldest performative qualities that encourages the idea of not confining her melodic preferences any more than an engineer would move to dampen the acme of Pruitt’s vocal energy. This new song doesn’t shoot for the stratosphere with that same kind of belting bridge but that’s perhaps why the more definitive rock arrangement works so well here.

The extra thick punch on the snare hits in the verses and the rhythmically chugging, well-bodied tone on the lead guitar and bass that fills out the melody’s lower register as Pruitt’s distinct, confidently sung vocals cruise atop…everything together makes it known the song is a decisive statement. All the same, it’s crafted in a way not intended as just a reckless emotional charge, even if the underlying frustrations might have dangled the temptation of that compositional approach. The song’s chorus – the melody, dynamics, and performance of which is surprisingly contained in the face of its emotionally straightforward lyrical confessions – is all it takes to see proof of Pruitt exercising emotional composure in favor of ensuring her demonstrable artistic sense is applied to help bring “Look the Other Way” to life.

This might be a song made to freeze an incredibly specific moment of emotion and piece of history in place and, as such, hopefully one day its echoes of disappointment will be rendered laughably dated. However, even when that time eventually arrives, this piece will be no less meaningful and well-written in conveying what people are capable of thinking, feelings, doing, or not doing, in the face of widely divergent and lasting choices. The specifics of life might change as time marches on but, the range of differences in how people contend with what stands before them in life, is a part of existence almost as permanent as change itself. Much the same way, while the topical details of “Look the Other Way” might not be a perpetual songwriting focus for Katie Pruitt, her choosing to convey its messages with the kind of artistry that’s inherently tied to herself as a person and a musician, is what will make a song like this endure, resonate and, on some levels, remind people of its positive guiding principles, well after the song’s moment of focus has gone by.

Check out “Look the Other Way” below and read along with the song’s full lyrics as your listen:


They bulldozed over the memories
To build apartments with amenities
And left the low income families
Broke on the outskirts of town

Might be the change on surface that bothers me
Or the underlying lack of humanity
Might be a little of everything
But I can never quite pin it down

And I get pissed
when people tell me “that’s the way it is”
As if that’s all that they know how to say
When you walk past
Do you even stop and ask?
Or have you learned to look the other way?

The devil’s wearing a suit and tie
Swearing on the Bible there’s a twitch in his eye
I guess every crooks got an alibi
as long as they got money to blow

Cause every last dollar goes to feed the machine
So they can keep on selling the American dream
While our TV dinners and photoshopped screens just keep on killing us slow

And I get pissed
when people tell me “that’s the way it is”
Feels like that’s all they know how to say
It’s so sad
To watch you give up what little power you have
All because you’d rather look the other way

Headlines are bleeding red
With the name of a man that I’ve never met
Cuffed on the street with a knee on his neck
And tears spilling out of his eyes

Are we heartless or are we numb?
changing the channel on the television
Telling ourselves we’re not the ones
and refusing to apologize

I get pissed
When people tell me that’s the way it is
When there is so much more that we could say
If you walked past
knowing that breath might be his last
Would you still have looked the other way?

“Look the Other Way” is available now.
Find it on iTunes and stream on Spotify.

Katie Pruitt is part of the “Just Vote Campaign” spearheaded by the civic engagement focused non-profit, HeadCount.org, which aims to inform, promote, and encourage voter registration in the U.S.

“Voting is the most effective way to implement change in a democracy,” says Pruitt.
“Use your voice and register to vote! This is NOT the election to ‘look the other way’.

Find information about voter registration or check your registration status at HeadCount.org.

Stay up to date with Katie Pruitt through her official website and these social media platforms:

Twitter (@KPMusik)

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