The Roseline / Photo by Fally Afani

Lawrence loves a good roots band, and The Roseline is one of those leading the charge. But their latest album, Keystone of the Heart, takes a hard twangy turn from the band’s usual indie-folk sounds (which seems to be the trend in Lawrence over the last year). They’ve been releasing tracks bit by bit, and their latest is “Hang ‘Em High.”

The album provides a lot of social and political commentary, which honestly is the root of all country music. Colin Halliburton doesn’t mince words on “Hang ‘Em High,” tackling the state of making art in today’s difficult, debt-ridden, capitalist nightmare of a world. “I barely function in the madness, they never fix it by design, planned obsolescence and a pile of debt ‘til ya die,” he laments on the chorus.

“‘Hang ‘em High’ is a protest song, for lack of a better word. The first verse, choruses, and the bridge are overtly political in nature – the narrator is exhausted by the hustle culture required in late-stage capitalism in order to barely scrape by, and disheartened by the dismissive reactions to their pursuit of a creative life. They not only want answers but they want the powers that be to pay. ” says Halliburton. “The second verse, in stark contrast, is protesting the surrender to pure cynicism and rage. The narrator takes stock in the beauty of life and the things worth fighting for in the first place. Some are trivial and aesthetic — ie. your team winning or a sexy car. Some are more substantive — your kids’ laughter. It’s all part of the whole and they all can contribute to gratitude in myriad weird ways.”

“Hang ‘Em High,” is the third single off Keystone of the Heart , which features frontman Halliburton, guitarist Bradley McKellip, Heidi Gluck on Keys, Colin Jones on bass, Jim Piller on drums, and (what a treat!) Chase Horseman on Mellotron. The album was recorded at Element Recording Studios in Kansas City. It comes out February 2nd, same day as their album release show at The Bottleneck with Suzannah Johannes and Empty Moon.



Fally Afani is an award-winning journalist with a career spanning more than 20 years in media. She has worked extensively in radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and more.

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