The Highballers: Soft Music & Hard Liquor

Recently, I was contacted by the bassist of a Washington, DC area band to do a review of their new CD. This is not an odd occurrence, if you've read Chels & the City for any period of time, you've probably realized that I am a huge supporter of local music and up-and-coming artists, the only thing that I found a little off was that I probably wouldn't have thought to listen to The Highballers had they not contacted me, which would have been a totally poor decision on my part.

Although The Highballers consider themselves a DC band, their lead guitarist, Sean Lally, is a Pittsburgher. They recently headlined a show at the 31st Street Pub in Pittsburgh and are now currently touring with their new CD, Soft Music and Hard Liquor, which was released in January. And while I would not have thought I would be saying this, I seriously like this band.

Their CD is something that you can listen to straight through and more than likely on repeat. It's what I would consider country and folky, with a quality mix of humor, wit and heartbreak and the perfect blend of smooth male and sultry female vocals. Which I don't comment on lightly, since I am usually a harder critic for female singers. But if you were creating a band and wanted a female who would complement your rough and tough male band vibe, Victoria Patchen is probably the only woman you would want. She blended flawlessly doing back-up for lead singer, Kendall Jackson, and has a strong enough voice to become the lead in some songs as well. The mix of these two singers and the strong, obvious talent, of guitars (Jackson and Lally), bass (Michael Barrientos), and drums (Drake Sorey), have totally sold me on giving this CD more credit than I originally thought I would.

To put it simply, Soft Music and Hard Liquor is really an album with a toe-tapping vibe that you just want to get shit done to. It's upbeat enough to keep you moving and yet mellow enough to be able to concentrate on any work you might need to get done at the same time. My favorites from this CD are; Live to Let You Down, Virginia, Better Man, and Doing Time in Pennsylvania. I highly suggest that you check out this band, at least on YouTube, and if you are able to, make it out to one of their shows.

This is a partnered post, but all opinions are my own.


  1. I used to be so into discovering local bands. I used to go to shows all the time. But after having my son, that has become a thing of my past. My hubby still keeps me up to date on bands though. :) I love bands that combine female and male vocals. It can be a really nice mix if their voices complement each other! <3


    1. Having a little one is more exciting than seeing band after band though, I'm sure. And I'm a sucker for ones that combine female and male vocals flawlessly.


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