Colorado’s Drunken Hearts return to Vail for 2018
The Vail Daily recently caught up with Andrew McConathy, of Colorado’s award winning alt-country Americana band The Drunken Hearts — performing a New Year’s Eve celebration show at the Vail Ale House.
McConathy is also the founder and host of YarmonyGrass. The 13th annual YarmonyGrass will take place Aug. 9-12 at Rancho del Rio.
Vail Daily: The Drunken Hearts have been touring the country relentlessly for the last year or two and the word is getting out. Can you tell us a little bit about your musical journey over the last couple years?
Andrew McConathy: The band has evolved tremendously in many ways. We started in Vail as just three friends with a passion for skiing and playing music, and it’s grown into this alt-country rock ‘n’ roll beast. We’ve played a lot of shows in Colorado over the past several years and hit the road last year and haven’t stopped. There’s an amazing feeling you get when audiences respond in places where we’ve never played; but at the same time there really is nothing like a home crowd here in Colorado.
VD: The Drunken Hearts’ debut full-length album release was just announced for Friday, March 30, at Globe Hall in Denver. Give us some insight into the inspiration behind this new album “The Prize?”
AM: Most of the songs on “The Prize” were written as the band catapulted across the country on tour in 2016 and 2017. We’ve been burning it at both ends for a while now and at times it seems our cause is spiritually relative to that of Captain Ahab in Melville’s “Moby Dick.” I wrote the song “White Whale” based on that connection and that’s where the title for the album was derived. “The Prize” is about the journey and the chase – living in the moment without losing sight of one’s true vision.
VD: Colorado is such a competitive music market and there’s no doubt touring isn’t easy. What are some of the challenges you have faced over the past few years?
AM: Building the band these past few years has been invigorating but hasn’t come without challenges. Founding member and drummer Ted Welles passed away unexpectedly in 2014 while we were trying to record what would become our last record, “Love & Thirst.” As a result, there is a lot of love and loss reflected in that album. I have a bottle of Ted’s ashes mixed with glitter that I carry around in my guitar case so he is always with us and always steering us toward what we know is right. He attends every show we play and I imagine he will continue to inspire us for a very long time.
VD: Who are some of your musical influences?
AM: Our influences are pretty vast — everything from Led Zeppelin to Townes Van Zandt, Bob Dylan, The Band, Tom Petty to Pearl Jam, and most points in between.
VD: What do you hope to convey with your music?
AM: First and foremost, we try to convey genuine, authentic truth in our music; truth in the lyrics, truth in the melodies, truth in the song itself. I hope people believe in our songs and that they enhance or at least provide a little more insight into our experience on this crazy planet. As our guitarist Kory Montgomery often says to the crowd at shows, “You got to believe!”
VD: What are you listening to these days?
AM: It changes pretty frequently but at the moment I’m listening to Sturgill Simpson, Tyler Childers, Jason Isbell, Ryan Adams, Greensky Bluegrass, Deer Tick and Fruition.
VD: The Drunken Hearts are playing at Vail Ale House on New Year’s Eve for the second year in a row. Any surprises we can expect at this show?
AM: Last year was so much fun, we thought we’d do it again, and bring along our good friends and fellow Front Rangers Tyler Grant & The Grant Farm as well. They are a fantastic band and we really love those guys. You never really know what’s going to happen when these two bands combine forces but I believe the result will be spectacular and certainly not to be missed. There is also a complimentary midnight champagne toast included with each ticket.
Tickets are available at the door for the New Year’s Eve celebration featuring The Drunken Hearts and The Grant Farm at Vail Ale House, located at 2161 N. Frontage Rd. The show starts at 9 PM.
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