Whiskey Clear Press Release
“When the pain of staying where you are exceeds the pain of changing your situation and when you finally reach the point of seeing clear who is a victim and who is a villain; when you finally decide to remove yourself from a situation or make a difficult commitment towards staying the path; when you drink until you black out but right before you lose consciousness you have a moment of clarity. In that liminal space of slowing our thoughts down enough to notice what we haven’t ever noticed before we are informed in new and revealing ways that allow us to move past whatever was holding us back. Some of us drown in the bottle and some of us put the bottle down. Wherever you are, I hope you are surrounded by those who love you and wish for you to do the latter.”
The story behind the recording of the album:
Recorded over the course of two days in the Catskill Mountains of Upstate New York at Magnetic North Studios, Whiskey Clear has no overdubs and no more than two takes per song. New York based pedal steel guru Jon Light performed with Jules in the same room without much isolation between them and was his sideman for years in the Hudson Valley. Engineered by Tod Levine, this was a departure from the recording methods and timeframe allowed during the creation of their last partnership, Mountain Time.
“I spent two years creating Mountain Time, so when it came time to record what Jon and I were doing live, I was in a place where I had a severely reduced reservoir of patience.”
Whiskey Clear was intended for release in the Spring of 2020, but plans for its release were offset by the pandemic and ultimately, the album in this form never saw the light of day. Fans will recognize the tracks “Goddamn Carolina”, a song about pining for love and springtime during the coldest days of winter, and “Chasing One More Line”, a song that likens a writer’s need for a poetic line to the habits of a drug user chasing a fix.
Jon Light’s pedal steel guitar greatly assists with delivering an overall vintage Country sound to Whiskey Clear. The album begins with a count-in from Jules and by the second track, Light’s pedal steel is playing these interesting trade-riffs in the chorus that will compel listeners to revisit “Heart of Stone” before listening further. Songs like “Jim Beam for Breakfast” and “Soul That Bleeds” speak to themes of despair and substance dependency, and Light’s pedal steel is right there riffing on Taylor’s vocals in playfully melodic and, at times, delicately whispered accompaniment.
Taylor’s intentions from the start of recording Whiskey Clear were to arrive at an imperfect product. Retaining all those small pieces of a performance in toto is perhaps an act of courage in today’s age of hyperproduced media. If this album could be described as ‘stripped down’, it is in line with a philosophical return to original intent of creating a record- as in a record of what took place in a room on that day.