“Is that Tom Petty?”


“No,” I said, “It’s a Denver guy. Denver band called The Drunken Hearts. Not The Heartbreakers … different hearts.”

“Huh,” my coworker Ben said. “It sounded like Tom Petty for a minute.”

I love to mix local music into the regular sonic blast toward my coworkers, because it always takes them by surprise. I’ll play a well-recorded, well-composed, catchy track from any number of our region’s music scene members, and something about the combination of a vague sense that they’d never heard this one before and just the fact that it’s a damn good song, and I often have one or two coming up to me to ask who the band is.

Music flows constantly from the desks in my office because we’re testing used high-end audio equipment from around the world. Music is an important fixture in what we do.

“That guy sounds like Eddie Vedder,” Jeff said as he approached.

Denver’s Drunken Hearts possess more than a likeness to some famous musicians, and a killer pedal steel player. They’re a mature staple in our music scene, and a steady hand for their area fanbase.

Are they country? Are they bluegrass? They’re known to rock out entirely at times. They have their own sound, and they put that sound to work year after year, producing rich, emotional albums that come across as more than the sum of their parts.

Released in mid October, Wheels Of The City is the band’s latest creation. It’s something they and producer Tim Carbone (of the band Railroad Earth, of course) began recording immediately after releasing the last record, 2018’s The Prize.

From the impressive opening blast of sound, to every memorable turn of phrase from McConathy (like “Getting up is getting down,” in the opening lines of “Unrest”), Wheels takes you on a journey, stopping at all of those genres along the way.

I love the band’s website, which is random, but I had to mention it. In sales, you learn to make the paths to purchase as easy as possible for the customer, and when you visit The Drunken Hearts’ home on the internet, you’re faced with two choices: buy the vinyl, or enter the entire rest of the website.

I love that. Close observers here will note I might have dogged on vinyl a little bit in a recent column. Really, I was extolling the virtues of modern budget digital products, but yeah, I was dogging on vinyl a little.

But there is so much to obviously love about the vintage format. I actually notice that The Drunken Hearts’ Wheels Of The City in its digital form is very dynamic, reminiscent to me of the vinyl version of some albums I love.

This is awesome, and don’t let the initially quieter sound fool you into moving on. Try this: Turn it up. That way, the band led by Andrew Petty, er.. McConathy are the ones that decide which moments should be softer and which should ring out loud.

Wheels is a wonderful glimpse into a certain Colorado feeling and lifestyle, and I’m thankful this year for the hard work of bands like The Drunken Hearts, delivering new music and recordings regularly to a hungry fanbase.

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