They’re back, folks! Drunken Hearts — A long-standing local band that’s seen many stages, been through the festival circuit, played host to YarmonyGrass, and shared stages with countleess fellow Colorado musicians — release their seventh album today, Reckless Ways of Living. Spearheaded by frontman, guitarist and Denver music scene scene aficionado Andrew McConathy, the Drunken Hearts have undergone significant changes in the past few years to get them to this celebration of a reborn version of the band and a milestone of an album.
Having temporarily retired as YarmonyGrass festival host, shifting his career and redefining the musical creation process, this latest album is a big step in the right direction for McConathy and a real treat for listeners. “The pandemic really took the wind out of the band’s sails,” McConathy said of his evolving project. “By the time June 2022 had rolled around, I was pretty much the only Drunken Heart left standing.”
Believing that he was watching his dream of being a full-time musician die before his eyes, McConathy followed longtime Drunken Hearts drummer Alex Johnson to Nashville for a week to “see what the hype was all about.” From there, McConathy was connected with producer and songwriter Dave Pahanish. The duo underwent a songwriting session in Pahanish’s home studio in Lebanon, Tennessee, that resulted in “Falling Stars” and, soon after that, the ten songs of Reckless Ways of Living.
Created with vigor, speed and collaboration from a slew of musical peers, the album came to fruition last summer amongst travels between Colorado and Tennessee. “At times, it literally felt like my musical life was on the line,” McConathy said of the writing and recording processes, which he says couldn’t have done without the “collective effort from everyone.”The album is a true melting pot of talents and influences, as well as an impressive who’s-who of players and songwriters.
With McConathy, Johnson and the current Drunk Hearts lineup — Tyler Adams, James Dumm, Drew Packard, and Eric Low — Reckless Ways of Living also features Silas Herman, Neil Jones, Lindsay Lou, Kyle Tuttle and Jason Carter. McConathy and Pahanish also co-wrote the album’s “Never Say Goodbye” with The String Cheese Incident‘s Keith Moseley and “100 Proof” with Leftover Salmon‘s Vince Herman. “It was a big collaborative effort all the way around, which made it pretty different from previous albums we’ve released,” said McConathy of the final product.
Reckless Ways of Living feels new to listeners — a more comprehensive sound from the Drunken Hearts that boasts a creative array of different voices and styles — and yet still upholds that homegrown, dependable honky-rock vibe that we know and love. While the band is “less of a democracy” than it once was, McConathy credits the current lineup with helping to fine-tune the songs and the band’s “approach to the music.” The album’s ten songs will have their official debuts at the album release show at Meow Wolf on June 10, which will be followed by some more announcements for this summer and fall.
Listen to Reckless Ways of Living here.