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“Life is Hard, Whiskey is Easy” by Chris Chitsey

In his new single “Life is Hard, Whiskey is Easy,” country singer/songwriter Chris Chitsey offers us a crushing new work that speaks to the heart in a manner that will leave you reaching for a glass in the best way possible. Truth be told, Chitsey is cutting something that goes well beyond what the status quo would call for in “Life is Hard, Whiskey is Easy” this January 15th; from a lyrical perspective, not only does this track address a self-awareness that has been wholly missing from the charts in Nashville as of late, it relates a major passion that informs listeners of who is holding the microphone right off the bat. There haven’t been a lot of positive country crossovers worth writing home about this season, making this track all the more of a win for fans like me.

There’s no hesitation in Chitsey’s vocal execution here; contrarily, he’s reaching for the heights with more moxie than the rhythm of his verses would necessarily call for. He’s careful to avoid rushing through the words; there’s a timeliness to his performance in “Life is Hard, Whiskey is Easy” that bridges the tension in the lyrics with the heartache in his voice, leading us to get something out of every angle in the mix simultaneously. There are no drums or big guitar solos for him to compete with; the spotlight is undisputedly his, and he utilizes every moment he’s in it to display as much love as an artist can in this particular situation. I like his charisma and more specifically his cool demeanor even when delivering an exceptionally honest lyric.

Lyrically speaking, “Life is Hard, Whiskey is Easy” is one of the more imagistic songs I’ve listened to from a country artist in the last few months, and I would even go as far as to say that it wouldn’t require a music video to immediately conjure some powerful visuals within the audience’s mind. Chitsey is poetic but artistically conservative with his prose here, and though it’s obvious that he isn’t interested in hiding behind trite metaphors and predictable platitudes in any capacity, he isn’t adopting a watered-down variation on the country poeticisms that once dominated the mainstream just ten years ago. It’s clear to me that this is all him; there’s nothing inauthentic or unmelodic in this track, which is more than I can say for some of Nashville’s biggest chart-toppers right now.

While I do like what I heard from him before this release, I believe that “Life is Hard, Whiskey is Easy” is a more accurate statement of artistry from Chris Chitsey, and is perhaps indicative of what we can expect out of his camp shortly. Here we have a champion of old-school country songcraft, and for the times we’re collectively living in today, I don’t think his work could be arriving at a more optimal moment to start the year. Chitsey is on the right path towards success in “Life is Hard, Whiskey is Easy,” and provided he maintains this present creative trajectory, it won’t be the last of his singles to make big waves in his scene.

Cleopatra Patel

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