It’s been a helluva year in all the ways folks. When we released the ‘Hank’s Checkout Line’ video in December 2019, our lives were exactly as pictured: an endless sweat soaked Louisiana dance-floor, crowded and radiant, just below sea level and just a little rowdier and more unhinged and undeniably special than anywhere I’d ever lived. What might appear to be an ode to fried chicken and honky tonk decadence at first glance, ‘Hank’s’ is in reality a scathing rebuke of my own relationship with New Orleans, a place I utterly adored while being all too aware of the role I was playing in its undoing. Gentrification is ugly, and this is a song about wearing that ugliness and learning to live with it; to attempt be a good neighbor in a place that has always deserved better. Shame and guilt aren’t healthy ways of moving through the world, and I felt that invoking the fire and brimstone verbiage that many of us come to associate with *Judgment* might shine some light on the grease in all our souls. I was never one for church, but I do consider fried catfish to be sacrosanct-and if playing endless dance shows in the shadow of the levee is a dream, you gotta be buoyant on other people’s nightmares to do it.
If you’d told me that in a year’s time from this video’s release I’d be in trailer, taking refuge from the public health crisis of the century in the back hollers of my Ozark homeland, I’d have laughed at you outright. What do I have to show for all this Covid strangeness and isolation and worry? I have You. The reader, the follower, the listener, and dare I say it: the fan; if anything about my last year went well, it’s y’all’s fault-and I love ya for it.