Kentucky-born singer-songwriter Hank Erwin has created a memorably dark and unsettling video to accompany his latest single, ‘Hail! The Copper Queen’. Bursting with disturbing imagery, from abandoned rooms to barbed wire, old mine shafts and bats, this is an engrossing visual experience, almost cinematic in the way it induces an emotional response. Musically, ‘Hail! The Copper Queen’ is similarly moody. Over Adam Nurre’s powerful beat and fuzzy guitar, Erwin’s echoing vocal is suitably atmospheric as he sings of the storm that is coming as the song builds to dramatic climax.
After spending over a thousand days at sea, Erwin finally made the decision to leave the Merchant Marines. This huge decision was life changing. He explains how, in his heart, he was always going to be a musician: “My parents were both forced to take music lessons when they were kids and both hated it. So one of their first pacts of courtship included that should they ever have kids, they’d never make them take music lessons. When I begged them for a guitar at age seven, after having my life changed by the video of ‘Cult of Personality’, they tried to talk me out of it but eventually caved and bought me a cheap Strat knock off, a red Series 10, from a pawn shop in Covington, Kentucky. 25 years later I left the ships knowing I hadn’t been doing what I was supposed to.” That sense of drive and purpose is evident in Erwin’s music. Erwin has dealt with much loss, tragedy and personal challenges over the years, including surviving cancer; he seems to drive all of that experience and raw emotion into his songs.
This single is taken from his recent full-length record, ‘The Copper Album’, which was named as a tribute to the old copper-mining ghost town of Jerome, Arizona where Erwin rediscovered himself and recovered after a period of depression, homelessness and serious illness. After that, he embarked on a relentless touring schedule, and put together these songs just before the pandemic hit. Despite the inevitable Covid-19-related delays, the record was recorded at a historic recording studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama and was finally released in October 2021. Erwin has developed a distinctive sound and ‘The Copper Album’ is well-worth checking out.
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