The Krew – To Hell With You
The Krew’s “To Hell With You”, written by singer/songwriter Jhonny K and Chelsey Stallings, is the new single from this band’s fourth album release. The Krew deal in a mix of Americana influences with a hard edged sound that marks them as something far different than a bunch of purists looking to pin butterflies under glass. The Krew are, instead, interested in making this style of music just as vital for modern audiences as it was half a century or more ago rather than as some museum piece or pastiche of a dead form. Jhonny K’s songwriting is a big reason why you should check this track out, but the band is as talented and the balance between the song’s disparate strands comes together with seamlessness their contemporaries can match. One can easily imagine this song flourishing in the band’s live set.
It’s easy to hear from the beginning why the band is referred to as the “the best Southern Rockers from the North”. The Krew confidently take on the mantle of at least three musical styles with this track, you can even say four, and it comes off sounding like a confident musical work instead of a slavishly imitative workout or a mish mash of traditional ideas. The blending of electric guitars with banjo, a rock rhythm section cooking at full steam, and a vocalist capable of taking on hushed passages as well as more nervy choruses are all the necessary ingredients for a band that’s capable of taking roots rock/Americana further into the 21st century as a viable avenue for bands to follow than what you might guess.
A lot of that, admittedly, has to do with the very individual songwriting the band has. Singer/songwriting Jhonny K is an award winner at his chosen craft and even a cursory listen to the words for this song gives clear indications why. There’s concrete detail galore in the song, storytelling attributes you don’t often hear from modern originals in this style, and a clear-eyed sense of where he’s going from the first. The rich qualities of his songwriting inspire listeners from the first and co-writing with Chelsey Stallngs undoubtedly strengthened the end results. The production is another key reason why the song proves so memorable as it underlines some of the rustic qualities of the tune without ever overplaying its hand and maintains an engaging balance between the different instruments that helps makes sense of what the band is doing for listeners.
“To Hell With You”, presuming it is representative of the quality we’ll hear from Smoke Rising in its entirety, has to rank among the band’s greatest achievements so far. They have brought something new and distinctly personal to these longstanding styles and it’s exactly what you need to do if you expect modern audiences to connect with the material in a meaningful way. It’s difficult cutting through an increasingly fragmented scene and making yourself heard, but The Krew’s “To Hell With You” proves they have the talent for that.