Kylie Rae Harris’ untimely death shook the country music world. The Texas native, 30, was traveling to a show on Wednesday in New Mexico when she was involved in a three-vehicle crash. Harris and another driver, a 16-year-old, were killed.
A respected singer-songwriter in the Texas music scene, Harris has left an indelible musical legacy. Influenced by revered songwriters like Radney Foster and Patty Griffin, Harris’ writing talent is obvious throughout her catalog. While her most recent self-titled EP was unveiled in March, she previously released two other albums and had fans in fellow Texans, including Maren Morris and Randy Rogers Band, among others.
Here are five of Harris’ best songs.
“What the Heart Wants” from 2019’s Kylie Rae Harris
A relatable song about being unable to move on following a relationship’s end, Harris describes the all-too-real struggle of saying goodbye to someone she knows isn’t right for her. Her smooth vocals alongside soaring electric guitar have the listener rooting for her, whatever her final decision may be.
“Well I’m like a drunkard just tryin’ to get sober/ You’re like a shot of whiskey that’ll mess me up/ Well I don’t want to want you, baby/ I should leave but I won’t/ I don’t need to need you, honey/ That should do it but it don’t/ ‘Cause the heart wants what the heart wants,” she sings.
“Don’t Let the Walls Fall Yet” from 2019’s Kylie Rae Harris
Harris’ warm vocals and sage advice shines through on the serious “Don’t Let the Walls Fall Yet.” A reflective tune where she is giving advice to a younger woman (or perhaps herself) to walk away from a cute man she just met, she urges, “Be good, go home/ If you don’t do it now you know you won’t.” Standout musical production furthers the song’s intrigue with seductive beats and sultry guitar licks.
“Sly Alligator” from 2013’s Taking It Back
On “Sly Alligator,” Harris’ soulful side is apparent as she sings of a man who has her hanging on every word. Her rhythmic, styled vocals coupled with a sultry horn section and edgy electric guitar riffs paint the exciting early stages of a relationship. “Love it when you call me baby,” she sings on the infectious tune, which is the perfect soundtrack for a jazz club with added clarinet features and steady percussion.
“I’d Rather Be Lonely” from 2013’s Taking It Back
“I’d Rather Be Lonely” is a heartbreaking piano ballad that finds Harris reflecting on a bad relationship. Her soul-fueled vocals demonstrate the hurt heard within the song’s lyric while wavering pedal steel and soft plucks of a banjo further the deep cut.
“I’d rather be lonely/ I’d rather have no love than to know love like this/ If I know one thing, it’s that I’d rather have nothin’ than to hold onto something that just don’t exist/ I’d rather be lonely,” she croons on the chorus.
“Twenty Years From Now” from 2019’s Kylie Rae Harris
“Twenty Years From Now” is a stirring ballad that showcases Harris’ tender vocals. A song she initially penned as a prayer for her young daughter, its powerful message has Harris hoping she’ll be around in 20 years to meet her daughter’s children. An even more somber message following her sudden death, Harris reflects on her mistakes as she sings to her daughter who is asleep in the backseat of the car.
“You deserve nothing less than happiness/ And so do I/ Twenty years from now/ My prayer is that somehow/ You’ll forgive all my mistakes and be proud of the choice I made/ God I hope I’m still around/ Twenty years from now,” she sings.