The story of our now-traditional set closer began in the pandemic, some time after we started doing our “Thursday Happy Hour” livestream. For those who didn’t catch it, the format of the livestream was that we’d make a drink on camera at 5:30pm on Thursday, then play about half an hour of songs afterward–it was a nice way to celebrate happy hour with friends in the “virtual” realm.
During this time, John was in the midst of finishing his degree in Mathematics, and was pushing himself very hard both in his day job and in school at night. He woke up one Thursday morning feeling low-down, just totally beat down by life in general, and that Thursday we joked about why we even woke up this morning. What’s the point–it’s just gonna be a long day and a heavy load with more to do when we’re done. But then we remembered it was Thursday Happy Hour, and answering the question of why we woke up, we decided that it was “so that I could drink”. It felt funny but also kind of sad, which is the blue-ribbon formula for writing a country song.
The rest of the lyrics came along quickly as we embraced our many challenges, letting the challenges serve as reasons we pour up another round at the end of a long week, or in the case of this song, on any given day. The key line of the song came in the chorus, as we wrote:
“So god damn, this is where I stand...“
A defiant line showing us fighting back against the things that were weighing on us, a raised fist and a warning to the many challenges coming our way that we, not you, will win. But the second half of that line went right back to humor, and to the reality of those Thursdays during the shutdown:
“...in line at the liquor store, a bottle in my hand.”
It’s a great hook, and the song found its home as our set closer. That was set in stone after our tour with Brightwire in 2022. This was one of the songs the five of us played together, and by far, the highlight of the song, the set, and the night, is always when Sam Barker riles up the crowd to sing along on the choruses.
As we set about recording this song, the form and instrumentation of the song were pretty well set. We knew we wanted drums and bass, acoustic guitar, and a light electric rhythm. What we didn’t know was how to treat the lead guitar. John tried several things, but John’s a rock guy, and we realized we needed traditional country. So we called up our good friend Willy T. Golden, and he came over to our little studio and laid down a pedal steel line that put this song over the top. He just NAILED it. Nothing could be more perfect than what he contributed.
Yet another moment when we get to step back and express gratitude for the number of talented friends we have around us.