Chris Chitsey’s “Life Is Hard, Whiskey Is Easy” will summon a smile from anyone steeped in classic country music. The Texas-born singer has a small but impressive string of singles preceding this new offering and each one exhibits a marked improvement over its predecessor. Make no mistake, however, Chitsey has yet to put a foot wrong in his upward trajectory. “Life Is Hard, Whiskey Is Easy”, however, illustrates Chitsey’s ascent into rarified air where virtually every new release skirt the edges of classic territory rather than standing as another well-crafted mile marker.
He has an undeniable touch with this sort of material. Chitsey has obvious naturalness born from a thorough understanding of his chosen style of music and much of this is, without question, attributable to how deeply he’s versed himself in influences such as Alan Jackson, George Strait, and many others. He’s taken the lessons learned from studying and enjoying those performers, transmuted them through his own skillset and vision, and emerges with an interpretation of the form that is uniquely his own.
The song’s sound is robust and fully developed. The instrumental way is led by awesome guitar playing and melodic fiddle contributions that achieve an unlikely level of lyricism given the song’s nature. It’s an ideal fit for a track that ends at exactly the three-minute mark and that duration is a further reflection of the craftsmanship defining the song without it ever sounding outright plotted out for the listener’s presumed benefit.
There is no question that Chitsey fully understands what his target audience wants. The lyrical content speaks to that audience on their level and doesn’t pretend to be anything it isn’t. It certainly would be appealing to the companies mentioned therein as rarely do you hear a song that excels at product placement such as this one. It bears noting, however, that the track doesn’t advocate for ribald drunken festivities like so many other country tunes of its ilk, but instead has an understated mournful quality saying that whiskey provides one of life’s rare respites from the struggles of daily life.
There are no pronounced instrumental breaks built into the song; much of the track’s focus falls, instead, on Chitsey’s voice. It does distinguish itself from the pack, however, as the music resolutely serves the song at every turn rather than vying with his vocals for the listener’s attention. The bridge is another effective portion of the tune that seamlessly carries us over into the song’s second half.
Chris Chitsey hasn’t been recording and releasing music for long. He, nonetheless, comes across as a seasoned performer who nevertheless continues growing at an exponential rate. “Life Is Hard, Whiskey Is Easy” shows doubters that he has an unusually strong connection with his material that helps listeners suspend the real world for a time and speaks to their concerns and travails in a way that ensures continued success for this talented singer. Let’s hope we hear more from him soon as this will whet anyone’s appetite for more.