On March 30 of 2018, The Drunken Hearts put out their sophomore release The Prize. The very next day — April Fool’s Day — they entered Silo Sound Studios in Denver with their friend and producer Tim Carbone of Railroad Earth to begin work on their latest release Wheels Of The City.
The band, who had self-produced The Prize wanted to try something new for their next album — to create and record a new song each day, and continue that model until an entire album was realized. The result is eleven full-fledged, living, breathing, musical time capsules that make up Wheels of the City.
Mixing their mountain-spirit with the twang of the south, The Drunken Hearts, who have been called “Americana heroes,” drew the attention of Greensky’s Paul Hoffman, who said “The Drunken Hearts deliver an intimate perspective to a nostalgic rock and roll sound. Passionate vocals that are reminiscent of Eddie Vedder and country-flavored pedal steel are both familiar and a newfound discovery.”
On Wheels of the City, The Drunken Hearts deliver tales of adventure, love, risk, and realization. There’s an overarching feeling of positivity throughout the songs, yet they also contain undertones of the darkness that inhabits life.
The title track was inspired by Jack Kerouac’s “Vanishing American Hobo,” written in 1960. “‘Wheels of the City’ examines the cultural paradigm between the homeless, health insurance-less citizens of America and an opposing population who seemingly wish to leave their brothers and sisters helpless, and build a wall to keep freedom and opportunity at bay and weak against the overbearing patriarchy who wishes to repress them,” guitarist, vocalist Andrew McConathy said about the chorus of the track, “Build a bridge, and not a wall… Something to bind us, not divide us all… ”
The group is made up of McConathy, pedal steel, Dobro, and lap steel player Cody Russell, electric guitarist and vocalist Kory Montgomery, bassist and vocalist Jon McCartan, and drummer Alex Johnson.
“I loved working on this record with The Drunken Hearts,” said Carbone, a partner in LoHi Records. “Andrew sent me the acoustic demos of the songs and I sketched out the arrangements and instrumentation. The band essentially learned the songs and added their ideas the day we tracked them. We did a song a day and except for some vocal overdubs, solo replacements and the strings and horns, that was how it all went down. I’d never worked that way before. It was an amazing stretch of hyper-creativity.”
“Once we got into the studio with Tim,” McConathy said, “ultimately ‘Unrest,’ the first single, morphed into a rollicking piano-driven rock song topped off by a very psychedelic Pink Floyd-esque bridge with the lyrics, ‘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…’”
Fox Theatre | November 16