If you’re feeling down and distressed and you just can’t seem to lose those “Sad Eyes,” then let’s get you better acquainted with the talented and emerging young unit known as Coby and the Prisoners. Founded by the laid back and likable Coby Hartzler, the quartet has returned with their latest single “Sad Eyes” from their soon to be released new record I Imagined A Window. As the follow-up to their last album, Everyone, I Imagined A Window, began to develop towards the end of a significant transition that Hartzler and his family were going through.

Having decided that he had had enough of his day job, Hartzler quit and committed himself to stay at home to help raise his three-year-old child. The family sold their house, trading it for the cheapest one they could find with Hartzler coming to the realization that his family and his personal life was more important than chasing money. Expectedly, it was a hectic time for the family, but one that provided a sense of relief and creative freedom which Hartzler has positively funnelled into his latest record. Having escaped the typical stresses of the 9 to 5 workday, Hartzler has reached a more satisfying place in his life where things move at an easier pace and he can play by his own rules.

Explaining the development process behind “Sad Eyes,” Hartzler said, “The realization that things are over, and maybe holding on a little too long. Watching it happen in myself or somebody else. This song came out quickly. One of those lucky ones when the melody and chords appear almost simultaneously. I wrote it where most of these songs began. On my couch, strumming a guitar while I watch my son play. It was tracked mostly live to tape in Indiana at postal recording. The organ brings it all together for me on this one. The song of summer, and fitting that it comes along near the end of summer.”

Even though Coby and The Prisoners is now Hartzler’s primary creative endeavour, it’s a project that the singer and songwriter began roughly eight years ago now. During some breaks in between projects, Hartzler started the band, motivated by the conservative realities of his small-town upbringing. As he began to mature, Hartzler began to question his surroundings as well as the town’s emphasis on religion which he had been fed since he was a boy. Feeling rejected by the social climate of small-town America where grown men who pursue music are viewed as individuals who can’t give up their teenage hobby, Hartzler committed himself to his craft and to becoming the best musician possible.

In a sense, songwriting is the artist’s way of clawing back at some of these conservative ideas that he was exposed to. It continues to motivate him to this day with music providing Hartzler with a place of solace and relief which he hopes you the listener will also derive from his songs and album releases.

Artwork for ‘Sad Eyes’ by Coby and The Prisoners