The Krew – To Hell With You
One of the best Americana influenced singles of 2018 is definitely The Krew’s “To Hell With You” from their latest album release Smoke Rising. Rather than just pandering to the lowest common denominator and hitting some typical poses for listeners, The Krew’s songwriting reaches for something different. Jhonny K, co-writer with Chelsey Stallings, takes on an excellent well-written lyric with strong storytelling aspects, the ability to invoke character with only a few words, and a clear sense of artistry that prevents even a single word too many from marring the songwriting. It matches some of the same flavor we hear from the music in the details it chooses and K puts those details over without any irony and surefooted phrasing that brings extra emotion and atmospherics to a song already not lacking either. “To Hell With You” has every element in place to make it one of the most memorable entries in The Krew’s discography.
Selling this style of music in 2018 is, inherently, a niche affair and if you’re hopeful about taking it to a larger stage, it’s incumbent that you bring something different to the table than just hitting all of the expected marks. The aforementioned strengths of the lyrics are an excellent stab in that direction, but the fluid threading of acoustic country influences around biting rock inclinations brings things together in a way that’s familiar, yet jolting. The production for the song is enormously sympathetic and frames everything in a warm, intimate glow that makes the rock elements of the performance all the more powerful. I particularly like the addition of banjo to the track and, though you might not expect so going into this song, it works exceptionally well with the electric instrumentation in the song and helps make it an even more convincing entry in the tradition it embraces.
The songwriting never overreaches in terms of length. It’s an indication of how far along the band’s creative development is that, despite having been around for a little while now, they still come across like a band and individual musicians/songwriters who have been working on their craft for decades. This is likely true, actually. The sort of commitment that Jhonny K and his band mates bring to this performance is born from musical and artistic passions that first blossomed at an early age and there’s little doubt hearing this song The Krew are born to do what they do and will hopefully be pursuing this road for years to come.
“To Hell With You” is one of the hardest hitting efforts in the Americana vein you’ll hear this year or in recent memory. It’s an excellent introduction for the band’s new studio collection and clearly places them a cut above the average act working in this style. The Krew definitely have something to build with this album and single and there’s no doubt at all they’ll take advantage of the resulting momentum.