Golden Shoals – “Bitter”
Americana Highways brings you this premiere of the Golden Shoals’ song “Bitter” scheduled for release on September 13. It was engineered and co-produced by Thomas Bryan Easton.
“Bitter” which was co-written by the Golden Shoals’ Amy Alvey and esteemed singer-songwriter Rachel Baiman, was taken from the perspective of a musician contemplating throwing in the towel – a position that Alvey says she was experiencing during the pandemic in the summer of 2020. The song poignantly encapsulates the feeling of an artist at the intersection of creation and practicality. The Golden Shoals, which features Alvey and Mark Kilianski, peel back a layer of vulnerability in their delivery while taking a stand for the value of creators across artistic mediums.
This song was written in July 2020 when public performances were cancelled for the foreseeable future, and every musician was livestreaming for tips to help make ends meet. I would fantasize about what it would be like to quit music altogether and pursue a different career. I imagined stashing away every instrument, award ribbon, merch item and gear cable so that nothing would remind me of my failure to persevere. Many musicians that I know did end up, pivoting their careers to something more sustainable during that time. Meanwhile, the country and world at large were going through collective trauma, and people were turning to music for solace.
Music and payment for musicians has been devalued over the years; we see this when venues ask us to play for tips or exposure or pay for advertising. People that work regular jobs think that playing music for a living, or pursuing any passion as your job, means that there’s no room to complain. We should consider ourselves lucky, and accept when we’re devalued monetarily because it’s what we love, right? The reality is that becoming a full-time musician means that your sacred passion also has to become a business, too, and should be respected as such. Even though the performance industry and my mental health are in a better place, singing the word ‘bitter’ in the chorus feels cathartic.
Spotify only pays artists $0.004 per stream, which is hardly a sustainable living. If artists don’t feel valued then they’ll stop creating. I highly recommend everyone check out the organization UMAW (United Musicians and Allied Workers, https://weareumaw.org) and follow their advocacy work for compensating artists more fairly. – Amy Alvey
“Bitter” is now available on all major platforms. Limited edition homemade bitters made by Alvey herself are also available for purchase online or at live shows to celebrate the release. For more information on the Golden Shoals visit https://www.goldenshoals.com.
Check out “Bitter” below: