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Tracking: Kyle McKearney - "Devil Water"

Song's story of alcoholism, addiction resonates with listeners

In 2019, while Kyle McKearney out on tour with Queen performing the We Will Rock You musical, he began writing a bunch of songs that were flowing out of him.

Prior to the tour, McKearney didn't know what the future held for his music career, and whether he would even continue in music. He decided he would record the songs when he got back from tour, to see where things went.

Fast forward to today, those songs feature on an album of country and Americana-inspired music due out this fall. 

Its first single, 'Devil Water', has been a hit since it hit streaming services in February. On its surface, it's an old school country song fit for a rip down a dirt road. Underneath, there's more to it.

"It's about the struggle of alcoholism, and addiction in general — being so lost in it that you've accepted it. It's your destiny and fate and you just go with it," McKearney says. 

The opening lines of the track set the stage perfectly: "Gettin' out my mind, all these warning signs, no apologies, whiskey therapy. We're just killing time, devil water."

While it may sound negative and hopeless, McKearney says he's heard from a lot of people who were impacted by the song. 

"I've had a quite a few people people share their story with me, or talk about their grandma or brother that went through something like this," says McKearney. "It's helped them remember people that have gone, it's brought back their family member in that way, and I didn't expect that. It's been really cool."

McKearney had the idea and riff for 'Devil Water' for some time, but never put the full song together. The songs on his upcoming album are the first time he's recorded anything remotely close to country music. 

"I grew up with bluegrass, country, and folk, so these songs felt really natural to me and easy," McKearney says. "My goal was to make a record of stuff that I would write for myself, or play for you if we were hanging out in a living room. That's what I wanted to do."

In the meantime, McKearney is living quiet the life in Calgary, renting decked-out camper vans and finishing up his new album. The next single from the album will be released in a couple weeks. 

To stay up to date with McKearney and his music, go here

Have a track to add to our playlist? Email reporter Dillon Giancola at