Wikipedia has a whole category for songs about alcohol.
Google search “albums about alcoholism” and there are pages and pages of songs about drinking, very few albums, however, and not many lists, songs or albums about recovery.
Being a reformed alcoholic myself, as well as being a former addictions counsellor, I have listened to lots of songs and albums that deal with alcoholism and recovery. I won’t bore you with the whole list but I want you to know that there is a plethora of good music, and lyrics, about addiction recovery. Here is a shortlist of a few favourites of mine:
“12 Stories” by Brandy Clark
“III” by The Lumineers
Lumineers co-founder Jeremiah Fraites said, “This collection of songs worked out in a beautiful way, and I feel with this album we’ve really hit our stride.” In an interview with NPR, Fraites and Schultz both explained how their lives have been impacted by addiction, and that this album was intended to chronicle the effects of addiction on family members and loved ones.
I will add that I was deeply moved by this recording and equally touched by the new album from Anothony Mills titled “dranking songs of the midwest”.
Anthony Mills does not dodge the pain of addiction in his lyrics and that story is only reinforced by the sparse instrumentation, mostly jangly barrelhouse piano and cajon, that allows us to focus on the lyrics that are delivered in a style reminiscent of traditional plantation song storytelling as well as Anthony Mills hip hop and rap influences, which is where he started his musical journey. A journey that mingles the complex relationship of his deep south heritage as seen in the video “rusty Cadillac” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-J0ojv6tEY with his family’s migration to the industrial north of the USA and their lives in blue-collar towns. “Blue Collar Work Ethic” was Anthony’s most recent release before “drunking songs of the midwest”.
In the song “rusty cadillac” Anthony tackles the rawness of using booze to suppress emotions and he also sings of the loneliness that often comes with addiction in the song “drinkin by myself (again)”, self-loathing in “stink”, honesty in “snake oil” and it all comes together as a package deal called “drankin songs of the midwest”.
I have listened to this album over and over today, just like I did when I got the vinyl of “III” by The Lumineers. These albums grabbed me and held me transfixed. Anthony tells us in “dranking songs of the midwest”, ah heck, I’ll just let Anthony tell you:
“I wanted to teleport the listener to the whorehouse, the saloon, with me and a piano man. Every statement is weighted with a shot of life, sweat and sex.
The feeling of wanting to get hammered, and there was always more going on psychologically, but that takes a back seat to getting ‘wet’ walking zig-zag and still
And taking us home he does, in “dranking songs of the midwest” a most splendid, luminous and admirable recording, even the parts that hurt. Thank you Anthony.
New single & video ‘rusty cadillac’ came out January 17th 2020 on all platforms.
New album ‘dranking songs of the midwest’ is coming in April 2020.
S T R E A M
D I S C O V E R
Review by Norman Weatherly