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Reworked tune is a key track on latest Drunken Hearts album

Sometimes a song can feel misguided and forced. And sometimes a song is guided by outside forces.

Andrew McConathy of The Drunken Hearts says the former applied to a tune he wrote in 2011 called “Nowhere Road,” but over the course of several years, it was reworked and recorded as “Broken Things,” which appears on the band’s latest album, The Prize.

McConathy can’t recall what inspired “Nowhere Road,” which he admits “can be an eerie feeling when you are trying to write something that will hopefully last forever.” His Colorado-based group attempted to record it in 2014 at Coupe Studios in Boulder, in 2015 at Immersive Studios in Boulder and in 2016 at Silo Sound in Denver.

“It just didn’t have the right feel,” remembers singer-guitarist McConathy. During the 2016 sessions at Silo Sound for Love & Thirst, the six-song Drunken Hearts EP issued that same year, he says “Nowhere Road” sounded like “a mashup of Gin Blossoms, Counting Crows, Jerry Garcia and Jimmy Buffett— so let’s just say as a band we needed to take a good hard look at who we wanted to be and what we wanted our music to sound like. I guess what we had created as ‘Nowhere Road’ didn’t seem to align with either of those ideals.”

In May 2017, while writing material for The Prize, Drunken Hearts guitarist Kory Montgomery came up with the idea to take “Nowhere Road” and make it “more of a driving, Sturgill Simpson-esque country-blues-rock thing,” McConathy recalls.

The transformation of “Nowhere Road” to “Broken Things” involved changing the key and chord progression as well as the feel.

“We all loved how it transformed and just went with it,” McConathy adds.

In late October, The Drunken Hearts released a video for “Broken Things.” Funding for the clip came via the band’s Kickstarter campaign, and among its high-end pledge rewards was a category called Handmade Song Just for You, which had seven backers — and that’s where the aforementioned outside forces came into play.

“Each song was for a different person who offered a topic for us to write about,” McConathy says, citing spouses, death and cats as some of the suggested subject matter. “It’s definitely been an interesting process to try and write something for someone else, for monetary value.”

During the creative process, McConathy pretended he was writing a song for himself or his band. “That worked well,” he admits, “and actually, there are a handful of Kickstarter songs that I believe will eventually make their debut as Drunken Hearts’ live or studio material down the line.”

— By Chris M. Junior

The Drunken Hearts on tour (schedule subject to change):

• Dec. 7: Tom Grainey’s Sporting Pub — Boise, Idaho

• Dec. 8: John’s Alley Tavern — Moscow, Idaho

• Dec. 12: High Dive — Seattle

• Dec. 13: Goodfoot Pub & Lounge — Portland, Oregon

• Dec. 14: Crow’s Feet Commons — Bend, Oregon

• Dec. 16: 7 Devils Brewing Co. — Coos Bay, Oregon

• Dec. 28: Vail Ale House — Vail, Colorado

• Dec. 29: Aggie Theater — Fort Collins, Colorado

• Dec. 30: Ogden Theater — Denver

Photo by Rockin Ryan

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