Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Lakes of fresh water or cool mountain springs are for the birds. Well, the Whiskey Folk Ramblers suppose that the unblemished stuff, right from the land's bosom, is good for something - cooking and cleaning/bathing, mostly - the demand for the kind of liquid that they champion is quite a bit higher. One can just imagine them doing backstrokes in a cratered out piece of ground, filled to its brim with some 80-proof Jack or Templeton Rye. Who knows if it would be easier or more difficult to swim through. It seems like it might be harder to cut through that alcoholic syrup and who knows what it would do should you open your eyes while swimming deep down and through it, far beneath the surface. A cannonball into it, with a wild plunge, off a rope and tire swing, might actually make the booze jump into your body, through your pores, barging past all of your suspected lines of defense, getting you totally wasted in nothing flat.
There's nothing wrong with such a thing happening. It could cool some tempers and make things seem better than they are. OR, they could do the exact opposite, heating everything up and dooming spirits, taking them to new lows. All that the Texas group's lead singer Tyler Rougeux is praying for, with the "sweet waters," which he sings about in a song of the same name, is to have them take him away. He just wants to sink in them, looking up at the sun burning down into the liquid and seeing the color becoming a darker and darker amber color, quickly turning into an autumnal midnight. He just wants to let go a little. There are fewer better feelings than taking a shot of something and having the warm gulp hit the belly before you've even opened your mouth for more. It's nice to just sink away, to linger in the depths, far from the voices and the other faces.
The Whiskey Folk Ramblers, filled out by accordian/banjo player Richard Lee Davenport, drummer Trey Ownby, bassist Jack Daw Russell, guitarist/fiddle player Mark Moncrieff and horn player Cory Graves, are men who would like to see the tough things pass them by, to pretend that they're not intimate, or are intimate no longer. There are worries about having a job that's gonna pay the bills and there are all kinds of discussions about the loneliness that's dug in deeply. They are concerned with the issues and the problems that the drink can never fully solve, just mask. They are pitted against rough mornings, exhausting afternoons and destructive nights that there seem to be no end to. The women who make them better, but sometimes make them worse, such as this one - as Rougeux sings, "She'll shoot you down in the morning/You'll be gone/Oh, I can't stay anywhere that she lies/Trust me boy, you know that I've tried" - are everywhere they want to be. Everyone just goes on smelling like a sleepless night, a hangover and a headache.