Chris Chitsey’s “Life is Hard, Whiskey is Easy”

Celebrity News, Music

As emotion-conjuring as it gets in the indie country genre in 2024, the harmony in Chris Chitsey’s “Life is Hard, Whiskey is Easy” is undisputedly powerful enough to move mountains this January. When you’re working with the kind of slick vocal prowess that this artist is, you don’t need an elaborate instrumental backdrop; beyond the mic, you’ve got everything you need to make a hit single. In an era that has rewarded excess a little more than necessary, to put it quite mildly, Chitsey is offering country listeners an unstoppably wholehearted effort in “Life is Hard, Whiskey is Easy” that audiences need to hear this season.

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The lyrics in this track are at times subtly cutting, made accessible only through the Americana-style delivery in which they’re presented to us. As simple as the subject matter is, there’s an essence of optimism in the words Chitsey is singing here, as though there’s a darkness to the other side of his light that we might not be so quick to recognize in a cursory listening session. It’s artistically provocative on several levels, but more important than that, this song affords us a look inside the message that drives an artist more than anyone could initially see.

All of the tension in the background here comes purely from the arrangement which contrasts with the incredible melody at the forefront of the mix to create a powerful statement in itself. On the one side, we’ve got a beautiful display of songcraft unfolding before us while on the other we’ve got a rather stoic beat maintaining a foundation in the song. There’s no walking away from “Life is Hard, Whiskey is Easy” unaffected by the music, specifically because it feels like it was designed to get a lot of emotion out of us without this singer uttering a single word.

On the production end, I love the at times overly physical nature of the master mix here. Hardly is there an instance in “Life is Hard, Whiskey is Easy” where it feels as though we’re listening to something that was recorded from within the four walls of a recording studio; more often than not, it sounds like we’re listening to an intimate live performance. It’s chilling from beginning to end, and it makes me all the more curious to see this player and his band in person on the next possible occasion.

There aren’t many songs that I’ve reviewed this winter that serve their artist as well as Chris Chitsey’s “Life is Hard, Whiskey is Easy” does, but even if it weren’t sporting the tone it is, I would still recommend it to listeners who love Nashville beats. There’s a heartfelt feel to the performance this artist gives here that I don’t see myself forgetting anytime soon, and if you haven’t already taken the time out to do so, I think it would be wise to explore his work and find out for yourself what all of the hype has been about coming into 2024. If you dig true country, this is an artist you want to be following.

Loretta Kim

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