Written by Nicole Scott
Americana-rock. Folk. Country influence. Nods to prog. What’s not to love?
Meet vocalist/guitarist Andrew McConathy, bassist Jon McCartan, banjo and lap steel player Cody Russell, electric guitarist Kory Montgomery, and percussionist Alex Johnson.
Their most recent record Wheels of the City has demonstrated the growth of The Drunken Hearts, elevating themselves from their humble beginnings as a trio to a full rockin’ outfit. Despite their evolution as a band, they are able to still maintain a traditional Americana sound which is captivating and timeless. Not only does the instrumentation deliver warm and comforting vibes, there are enough twists to keep intrigue, especially with the sometimes dark and political lyricism.
If this wasn’t enough to impress, the band was able to record this album in a shocking 11 days—1 day per track. The band spoke saying it was one of the most rewarding creative endeavors they have completed.
The thematic elements driving Wheels of this City are some of the most prevalent and empathetic of any artist–love and self-actualization while facing obstacles.
Any listener can hear this, especially in “Unrest” — “Just getting up is getting me down… Gonna pull the string get my head unwound… Before I die I want to learn to live… Unrest is a state of mind…”
There is a powerful dichotomy in the music and lyrics, seamlessly flitting back and forth between uplifting moments and times of contemplation which give the album its trademark transparency.
This is seen in the title track, based off Jack Kerouac’s Vanishing American Hobo, expressing discontent with our current political climate and a call to cooperate: “Build a bridge, and not a wall… Something to bind us, not divide us all.” Implementing these political notes with a traditionally American genre further drives a sense of urgency which is expertly employed by The Drunken Hearts.
Wheels of this City is a great add-on to the new Americana revival. It provides enough creativity to not be a rehash of old trends, but maintains integrity to the genre to be an honorable contributor.