Love & Theft have been the epitome of what Nashville has been looking for lately: two nice looking guys who look edgy enough to get girls to swoon, but still safe enough to take home to mama. They haven’t put out any music that was incredibly inspiring, but they haven’t had anything too terribly offending either. In all honesty, that’s almost like a win when you look at some of Nashville’s worst. All that has changed now. Love & Theft’s latest has all the makings of a modern classic. If you haven’t heard “Whisky on My Breath” yet, you are missing out.
In a country music landscape full of loud and proud males who promote over indulging and living life with little sense of responsibility, “Whisky On My Breath” sounds like a foreign language. The song takes a look at a man who is embarrassed of his actions. He can’t stand the idea of meeting Jesus with “whisky on his breath”. It’s the classic tale of walking the line between sin and redemption that every single person can relate too. The party songs sound like a ton of fun, but what happens when the party is over? Those songs aren’t real. “Whisky On My Breath” is real. The great Hank Williams was a man with incredibly strong spiritual convictions, and equally strong addictions. I hate putting words in the mouths of artists who have passed on, but I would guess if Hank was still around today he’d be telling stories similar to this one.
This song sounds like a throwback to the 90’s country sound that was so great. Steven Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson use the top of their range to harmonize perfectly together. The high harmony is very similar to the sound that Vince Gill champions. I love it. You can hear the ache in their voices and the sadness in the melody. Country music needs more songs with this melancholy vibe. This is the type of song that will actually matter to people. In 20 years, nobody will remember the party songs, but something like this has staying power.
If you are a band or solo artist who is floating in the mid-to-low tier of country stars, this is the best way to change your fate. By releasing a song that matters, Love & Theft prove to the critics that they have some artistic validity, and can still make noise on the charts. “Whiskey On My Breath” is one of the best songs of the year, and one of the best mainstream singles in recent memory. Do yourself a favor and check this one out!