Terrestrial country radio is missing what made country music great: meaningful story songs with a traditional sound. However flipping through the channels, I heard something that made me stop and do a double take: Love and Theft's "Whiskey On My Breath." The single, written by Stephen Barker Liles with Tyler Reeve, Trent Tomlinson, Russell Dickerson, Adam Craig and Mark McGuinn, is the first from their latest (and independent) album of the same name which was released in February.
"Whiskey On My Breath" is a meaningful, honest and emotional song about a man living with an addiction that cost him dearly: "I lost her and all my friends/Broke all but one of my Lord's ten." Although he seemingly is resolved to those losses, he strives to "pull himself together" before he meets Jesus, an event that does hold importance to him. The instrumentation, as well as the duo's vocals and immaculate harmonies, convey a sadness, vulnerability and even determination.
"Oh I know I'm going to Heaven
But I can't go with me like this
I need to pull myself together before then
Lord I ain't afraid of dying
But what scares me to death
Is meeting Jesus with whiskey on my breath"
Undoubtedly, "Whiskey On My Breath" is Love and Theft's best single to date. The song can currently be heard on Sirius XM as a Highway Find.