REVIEW: Chris Chitsey — Life Is Hard, Whiskey Is Easy (SINGLE)

Colin Jordan
3 min readJan 17, 2024

Let’s go back to the future with Chris Chitsey. The classic country sound of his new single “Life Is Hard, Whiskey Is Easy” has a title suggesting that the cut may be a new entry in the genre’s long tradition of big-tent anthems to a hard knock life. One listen to the performance, however, proves such assumptions wrong.

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“Life Is Hard, Whiskey Is Easy” does have a broad-based appeal. It embodies its appeal, however, under a much more enduring context as Chitsey builds a sturdy paean to the pleasures of a tasty whiskey upon reaching the end of an arduous day. It’s wholly believable and achieves its effects on the back of superb emotive singing and top-flight musicianship.

He constructs the song around a loose narrative of how whiskey can mend a broken spirit. It isn’t ever sophomoric though, nor does it extol some sort of whiskey-bent and hellbound alcoholism. Chitsey sings it with an enduring but likewise slightly downcast tone to his voice; the blues isn’t far away from his phrasing.

The music reinforces that. The fiddle and quasi-slide guitar attack complementing his voice owes a lot to Chitsey’s affinity for the blues as well as his honkytonk DNA. There’s some rock music influence permeating the performance as well. It isn’t southern rock, Chitsey isn’t cut from the Lynyrd Skynyrd cloth, but it’s a flavor that rests easy within his musical wheelhouse.

He has plenty of discipline as a performer. He doesn’t sing the same line the same way twice and there’s enough added variety in his vocal attack that listeners are certain to never feel bored. This is essentially a simple song, there’s nothing fancy about it, but Chitsey’s treatment of the track imbues it with surprising dignity paired with its “down home” feel.

The aforementioned discipline extends to its duration too. Chitsey is wise to never bite off any more than he can chew and understands the song’s mandate. Nor does he try to outshine the instrumental contributions. Chitsey tailors his vocals to perform at maximum service to the song and the result is one of the most coherent and fully realized offerings from this genre in many moons.

It’s no surprise from an Austin, Texas native who cut his musical teeth performing at his father’s barbecue and later proved himself touring the Lone Star State’s scores of honkytonks. He knows this music inside and out and his own take on the style has substance and entertainment value in equal measure.

“Life Is Hard, Whiskey Is Easy” could have been a flat-footed novelty song in the hands of a lesser performer. In Chitsey’s hands, however, it’s a tasty reminder of what this sort of music is still capable of in the right hands. Tastes may have changed some, there are undoubtedly listeners out there who will find this quaint, but true music aficionados will recognize that Chris Chitsey brings a sense of style to this music that has real meat on its bones as well. He’s a powerful artist and performer we’ll be enjoying for years to come.

Colin Jordan

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Colin Jordan

Graduate: McNeese State University, Avid Beekeeper, Deep Sea Diver & Fisherman, Horrible Golfer