Portland, Oregon singer-songwriter Philippe Bronchtein has been performing under the Hip Hatchet moniker since his 2010 debut Men Who Share My Name. His earliest work centered around the stark sound of a solo musician armed only with an acoustic guitar. Now he’s beefed things up with assistance from members of Horse Feathers, Widower, and Hayes Carll. This expanded lineup will make its debut with Hip Hatchet’s third album, Hold You Like A Harness, which he’ll self-release this April.
“‘Coward’s Luck’ was one of the songs that really kicked off the wave of writing that appears on Hold You Like A Harness,” Bronchtein says of the album’s first single. “Despite being released on Bandcamp a few years back, it fits in with this collection of songs and I wanted to give the song the proper treatment I felt it deserved.”
Steel guitar twang and piano flourishes resonate throughout the track, complementing Bronchtein’s serene acoustic guitar fingerpicking. Even with the lush production, it’s still Bronchtein’s lyrical prowess, delivered in his sturdy baritone, that proves to be the most harrowing and engaging. He details his heartbreak with brooding lines like, “I can fill up all my days/ With the laziest distractions/ The prettiest girls without no names/ The vices no different than the shame.” It’s a stunning portrayal of love and loss without falling into common country tropes, despite bringing in more musical elements of the genre. Listen in below.