Andrew Duhon has the kind of voice that you could spend the whole day lost in. Smoky as a campfire, smooth as bourbon and sweet with just a hint of gravel, it sounds like the entire history of southern folk music rocks inside Duhon’s gentle tenor. On his latest record, False River, Duhon was partially inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay Self Reliance, and a particular line caught his eye: “To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men — that is genius.”
That thought clearly informs the track that we’re premiering today, “Heart Of A Man,” though the song is full of more uncertainty than Emerson was in his writing. Duhon finds himself questioning the roaming nature of his heart, unfolding existential thoughts over silvery, effervescent country melodies. This song, and the struggles it examines, are at the center of False River, which follows up Duhon’s 2009 debut, Songs I Wrote Before I Knew You, a 2010 EP, Dreaming Before I Leave, and his 2013 record The Moorings, which snagged a Grammy nomination for Best Engineered Record.
But even with all that experience, False River is a step forward for Duhon in a number of ways. Namely, it was recorded with bassist Myles Weeks and drummer G Maxwell Zemanovic, who were initially hired to help record The Moorings, but gelled so well they ended up touring with Duhon for the next three years. The chemistry of the band is apparent on the record, as is the production courtesy of Eric Masse, who has worked with the likes of Andrew Combs, Charlie Worsham, Miranda Lambert, and Rayland Baxter. Speaking of, Baxter himself even drops in for a few tracks on the record to lend vocals.
When it comes to “Heart Of A Man,” though, the spotlight is on Duhon’s core struggle: Love. Involved in a complicated relationship that he can never stop running away from, but also can’t let go, the song pokes and prods at what it means to feel restless, even when things are wonderful. Here’s what Duhon had to say about the track:
“I’d left her. Again. The same woman who’d always taken me back. Who’d waited right there for me every time. But again I was leaving. I yearned for the unknown and didn’t know why. I wanted to find a reason for that. The constant motion feels like an affliction, like a runaway train, all that momentum. Maybe I’ll never slow down, but as I grow older, I believe I can steer that momentum, use that energy less selfishly. I can love with that energy. I can listen with that energy. I can give with that energy.”
Listen to the track below.
False River is out 5/25. Pre-order it here.