Photo Courtesy of Flaunt Magazine
North Hollywood, CA (January 23, 2020) – Neon. Cigarette smoke. Tight jeans. Rhinestones. Sweaty people. Crowded dance floor. Vintage Cadillacs. Legendary bar. All that, and more drive Midland’s live performance video for “Cheatin’ Songs,” captured at North Hollywood’s long shuttered Palomino Club during the double Grammy-nominated band’s one night only re-opening of the iconic honky tonk on Lankershim. Watch video here: https://midland.lnk.to/CS_PalominoPR.
Filmed by Collin Duddy, the clip takes a gritty, no frills approach to reflect the song’s content and the stripped-down reality the trio from Dripping Springs, Texas try to maintain. Crammed on the sweltering stage, lead singer Mark Wystrach, lead guitarist/vocalist Jess Carson and bassist/vocalist Cam Duddy, lean into the classic country of this week’s Most Added song at country radio. The confessions of a man betrayed but holding on, the video merges the seduction of honky tonk life with the reality of a working band playing actual instruments for a crowd hungry for what their brand of retro country was forged with.
“There are certain songs that are very traditional country. But if you actually listen to our arrangements, there’s also stuff that’s unconventional that really pulls it into the modern age,” Wystrach told Flaunt magazine, during an interview earlier that day. “We’re interested, personally, in believing in the music. The greatest curse is going to play music that doesn’t compel you.”
No danger of that. Gracing the cover of touring trade Pollstar, announcing the Stagecoach 2020 line-up on ELLEN and getting ready to kick-off this year’s Houston Rodeo & Livestock Show March 3, Midland goes to great lengths to keep it old school – and straight up. While their headlining tour – including two SRO nights at Ft. Worth’s turbo-tonk Billy Bob’s – is all but completely sold out, the trio will spend their summer vacation as special guest on Tim McGraw’s HERE ON EARTH TOUR.
“Looking at how committed we’ve been to taking it on the road, playing this music for the people is an interesting way to live” says Duddy. “My peak moment every night is when people sing the songs back to us. That never gets old.”
Forging a future from the past, Midland – a band long on visual attraction – wanted to let their night at the Los Angeles home away from home for Merle Haggard, Charlie Rich, Jerry Lee Lewis, then Emmylou Harris, the Pretenders and Commander Cody, followed by Lone Justice, the Blasters, Dwight Yoakam and the Traveling Wilburys ride again. Acclaimed by The New York Times for their “retro country elegance,” filming a video in a bar that’s seen myriad dalliances was metaphorically sound.
Built on classic country’s unapologetic embrace of grown-up themes, Midland’s oeuvre is filled with plenty of drinking songs, cheating songs and seduction songs. NPR noted the trio “Evolves Its Vintage Sound” for the No. 1 debuting Let It Roll, while Esquire proclaimed their music, “as well-worn as the barstool its protagonist refuses to abandon—think warm, Dwight Yoakam-esque country and swirling, Laurel Canyon folk” and The Austin American Statesman praised, “the melodic twang of 1970s country-rock… reaching high above honky-tonk bounds.”
With “Mr. Lonely” landing on many Best Of year end lists, including the prestigious Nashville Scene Country Critic’s Poll, Midland channels Buck Owens, Gary Stewart, Keith Whitley, Merle Haggard and Charlie Rich through a strong prism of Dwight Yoakam, the Eagles and California country rock. With “Cheatin’ Songs,” they take their progressive country cocktail out into the deep end, dragging the waters of infidelity, carnality and just enough smoky harmony to make music lovers lean in and breathe a little quicker.