Eddie’s Attic Songwriter Top 3 finalist, Karly Driftwood, has one of the most intriguing and original backstories. The singer-songwriter was a mortician before quitting to pursue music in Nashville. Because she couldn’t afford to make the move to Music City, she became a stripper to save up enough money to leave her hometown. She left for Nashville a week after graduating mortuary school and hit the ground running. After recording and writing her debut album, Too Mean To Die was released into the world.
The album was recorded by top notch audio engineers including:
-Jake Clayton (Tanya Tucker & Sunny Sweeney, Brandi Carlile)
-Rob Daniels (Tanya Tucker)
Mixed by Steve Blackmon (Chris Stapleton, Blake Shelton, Justin Moore)
Mastered by Chris Gehringer of Sterling Sound (Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Drake, Jay-Z, Three Six Mafia, Keith Urban, Blake Shelton, etc.)
Once in awhile a record will come along and make the listener pay attention, whether it be by the songwriting, the playing, or by sheer force. Karly’s lyrics are funny, mature, and dark due to seeing so much in two unconventional industries. On Karly Driftwood’s debut record, Too Mean to Die the Virginia-born singer-songwriter eschews country music status quo and instead leans on the dark themes of life.
Too Mean to Die is a country record that’s scarred, jagged like shards of a broken beer bottle but also sugary sweet – if your idea of puff pastry is laced with arsenic. The songs are just as much influenced by the Misfits or Danzig as they are Johnny Cash or Dolly Parton; to put a finer point on it, Karly Driftwood is a potent mixture of equal parts Sylvia Plath and The Drive-By Truckers. Even her stage name, “Driftwood” is a nod to Otis Driftwood from Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects.
Driftwood paid for the record with literal blood, sweat, and tears, as corny as it sounds. Instead of getting a parental handout, Driftwood set sail for Nashville and the only way she could get there was by stripping. Once she’d landed in town, Driftwood hit the bars, coffee shops and everywhere in town that would let her sing. Once the songs for Too Mean to Die were ready, the project was underway.
“It took a year and a half. I paid for it dollar by dollar. No help from anyone. I made this record happen with long nights and a lot of tip money,” and what the listener gets in return is a melodic collection of songs that are big and bright, but showcase how despite something being beautiful, it can be damaged, too.
“This record is me: it’s a juxtaposition of dark lyrics with bright music.”
Too Mean to Die is a collection of broken-hearted fragments, dark thoughts, and elements of gloom, all wrapped in shiny paper. While the themes might be grim, the playing on the record is without a doubt top notch.
“Bake You a Cake” is a radio-friendly foot-stomper that tells the story of a woman scorned, one who’s done taking even a millimeter of shit from any man trying to step on her again while “Stripped My Way to Nashville” is straight from the mid-90’s playbook, it’s got loud guitars and proves that Driftwood isn’t just another country singer – she’s onto something else.