Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Oh! Whiskey” by Jimi Goodwin from the 2014 album Odludek on PIAS.
The hearty voice and singular songwriting of Jimi Goodwin has carried on in the Mancunian singer’s career all the way from its beginnings in the Madchester group Sub Sub and most notably, English indie rock heroes Doves. As lead singer of Doves, Goodwin and brothers Andy and Jez Williams were a consistent presence during the 2000s, releasing four albums across nine years, two of which earned Mercury nominations. As the decade came to a close, the trio decided that they wanted to spend time pursuing other goals, and in 2010, Goodwin was the first to announce his next endeavor: a solo album with significant contributions from Elbow’s Guy Garvey. Three years of recording later, the album that would be released in early 2014 as Odludek finally saw the light of day. Named for the Polish word for “loner”, Odludek was recorded and performed solely by Goodwin, who sought contributions from Garvey and a few other musicians. “Oh! Whiskey” is indeed a tune worthy of its clever title, but like its titular drink and so many of Doves’ best sons, it kicks in slowly before exploding. The song begins as an acoustic number, complete with harmonica, as Goodwin earnestly croons “Oh! Whiskey give me patience/Oh! Whiskey give me truth/Oh! Whiskey give me empathy/Just don’t give me the blues”. After a brief orchestral transition before leading into a more upbeat section, it transforms into something more melodic and fully-formed, shifting the song’s tune from humorously insular to emotively and instrumentally expansive. “Oh! Whiskey” takes a while to unfurl its structure, but with each passing measure, it shows Goodwin to be as consistently unpredictable as his whiskey-soaked protagonist.
Jimi Goodwin will take Odludek on the road all throughout the summer, but his announced touring plans are limited to Europe at the moment. Keep an eye on his Facebook and website for any news or show announcements, and watch the video for “Oh! Whiskey” below.