The Liquorsmiths – This Book Belongs To

The Liquorsmiths

One amazing thing about music is how listening to it can take you into another world. During the past months, I’ve found myself driving down a country road, sitting around a campfire with my family and friends, and even dancing at the party of my life. All I have to do is start an album and close my eyes, while the songs compose an image in my head. A new environment forms around me as my imagination soars. Sometimes, a story is born, a tale initiated by the lyrics and tones, but further enhanced by my mind. The Liquorsmiths’ new album, “This Book Belongs To,” does this job really well.  

When I listen to songs such as “Coy With Me” or “Day By Day,” I find myself sitting at a bar table, a mug of dark liquid foaming on the counter. The place is dimly lit—lights flicker above me. It’s late at night, and I’m surrounded by other men and women drinking, but my attention is on the background song playing, “Iris’ Song.” I feel a strange sadness within me; melancholy and nostalgia well up inside. 

The imagery makes sense. The Liquorsmiths is made up of three men: Ryan Fischer on keyboards and percussion, Clayton Payne on drums, and Drew Thams on vocals and guitar. According to their website, Thams and Fischer worked as bartenders when the band first formed, and their band’s name is dedicated to the alcohol in San Diego. Mainly playing songs in the folk rock genre, the trio has a talent for touching on your emotions. In one track, you might feel an overwhelming sadness, but in another, it’s more upbeat and you feel content. I believe this comes from the slower tempo of their instrumentals, which gives them the time to affect you with every word spoken. It’s truly awe-inspiring. 

One particularly interesting song  is “Day By Day,” the one that finishes out the album. An appropriate ending to the collection, it starts off slow, but towards the end, you hear a chorus of voices awing along as Thams sings to a faster tempo. It’s more than just the end of the song, but as the voices sing together, you know the album itself is about to close. In the imaginary world, it’s almost time to leave the bar and go home, and I still feel sad. Yet, I’m somehow content at the same time. I can feel the pain, but I know I can go back to the real world and face it. I can deal with it day by day

This album is definitely worth a listen to, even if you don’t like going to bars. If you’re feeling down in the dumps, like the world is about to crush you, this album has a way of confirming that sadness, but then reassures you that it will all be okay. It doesn’t promise instant happiness. Rather, you know it will slowly get better with time. I encourage you to check it out to experience this sensation.

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