Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Josh Niles at Big Light, Nashville, Tennessee
It's the woman that Holly Williams writes about in her song, "Drinkin'," who's going to stick with you. It's the way that she is - the things that she's been through - that you're not going to be able to shake. The way that Williams writes and sings her is painfully real. She's a woman who feels helpless to alter what's happening to her. She's done everything write and she's being hurt as if she'd done everything wrong. Good people sometimes get it the worst. It's a cruel wrinkle that's hard to take.
This woman is barely in a relationship, or a marriage, but it's slipping out of her grasp faster than she knows what to do with it. She's caught up in an unexpected whirlwind of bashing and anguish. It's an embarrassing display of a love that's been abused and forgotten. It's love that seems to have been neglected and left on the back burner for a long time, with both participants going about their days in the ways that they saw fit. They passed one another, listlessly and with little contact, as they cleaned the table after the children had destroyed a dinner, or they quietly snuck a shower in here or there, before hustling off to work - doing that duty to keep those children fed and warm.
These were people who co-existed, but this woman thought they still had more. She was being dutiful. She sings, "Why're you cheatin' on a woman like this/I raised your babies and I kissed your lips/So why're cheatin' on a woman like this?" She was always there, for him, for the kids. She was doing what she thought she was supposed to be doing, what he wanted her to do. She was diffusing his temper and she was making sure that everything was in order, as much as it could ever be, hoping that the romance would return to previous levels - but even if it didn't, there was a mutual admiration and a respect always lingering. It's the kind that comes with time. These are the relationships that time spoils. They wear down and someone is caught off-guard. The woman here sings, "Why are you leaving like we don't exist?" It all hurts so bad.
Williams, the granddaughter of the legendary Hank Williams, brings this woman to life, even as she's losing all that she knows of it. It's depressing and sudden and both the husband and wife are left "drinkin' like the night is young." She's great with these compositions - the ones that are so tragic, so sad, that they break us down. We immediately do a mental check of our own relationships and convince ourselves that we aren't taking them down a similar path. Are we being neglectful? Are we being cruel? Are we loving? Are we still in love? Were we ever, or was it mere convenience that brought and kept us together?