The new WHISKEY & Co. album picks up two years after their first, weaving barstomping tales of debauchery with a heartachingly beautiful sense of longing and romantic impasse. Kim Helm’s vocals show a marked growth, hearkening diverse whispers in between the breaths, including glimmers of Lucinda Williams and Natalie Merchant.
WHISKEY & Co. traverse the American southern musical landscape, reveling in the broad scenery of classic country music, the rich blend of current alternative country standouts, and Americana in general. They combine classic “outlaw country” influences such as Gram Parsons, David Allen Coe, and Emmylou Harris, while keeping the punk rock attitude alive. Kindred spirits include RUMBLESEAT, LUCERO, and UNCLE TUPELO.
Within WHISKEY & Co. is a dark past, relayed through their lyrics as a troubled present and a clouded future, steeped in a strong understanding of small town claustrophobia, alcohol addiction, the loss of love, and, ultimately, the compelling desire for escape and redemption.
The songs are largely forward moving and upbeat, requiring an obligatory sing-a-long from the listener, a raised glass, a knowing smile. Other songs bring the tone down to a comfortable shuffle, replete with a tasteful mix of fiddle and lapsteel (taking the role of highlight and backing, rather than overtly stealing the show). Kim’s vocals are full, rich, and shine throughout. In this paradigm there is a life and openness to the music that offers the clarity to hear every detail at once, thanks largely to the expert ears of producer Rob McGregor (HOT WATER MUSIC, AGAINST ME!, RUMBLESEAT).