A quick note on an intoxicating term:
The Scots spell it whisky, whereas the Irish use whiskey. Apparently, both Scottish and American distillers purify the liquid twice; for the Irish it’s three times. That’s the difference. Strong stuff in any event. The US goes with whiskey, while Canadians spell it whisky.
Jacob Bihun, an Ontario, Canada recording artist from Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo, went with the “h.”
So you know he’s trying to cross over south of the border. And we hope he does. Last night, an old roommate from Southern Ontario appeared to me in a dream. It’s odd because I never usually think of the guy, unless Facebook surfaces his profile randomly. But now that I’ve had a good look at Bihun’s face — which looks strikingly similar to that of my former house mate — I know why. They both have short cropped hair and cowboy muscles. They both like music that’s ideal for twirling with a lovely lass on a hardwood floor. Everything makes sense now. It was, for sure, a premonition of being exposed to this incredible song, “Whiskey and Smokes.”
Referencing King Street (which is “where devils roam,” of course) in the song, is a powerful device. You know, on the one hand, some of his listeners — those from the K-W world of things — won’t be able to help themselves from imagining nights out along Waterloo Regional Road 15 — aka King Street. That’s a route which splits the twin cities into east and west partitions. Maybe you’ve been out for a night of gambling and want to pursue devious film projects in a sloppy state, while contemplating the influence of the tech devices developed in the city on global communications infrastructure. Hypothetically, I mean.
But there will be another contingent of his listener base who will remember nights out at yuppie bars along the theatre district of Canada’s largest city, Toronto. We’re talking sharp dressed individuals with slick hair shooting spirits and dancing properly, in tableaux that would fit well in a Jameson commercial. Either way, it’s easy to imagine the deals with Beelzebub that have occurred along crooked secrets before the evening is up.
In both cases you can imagine a song like this, on the Paper Flowers album, would be a top choice for the iPod of revellers. Why? Because we’re talking Southern music with a smile. It’s sunny side up, easy breezy and effortless. You’re running away from regrets in a world framed by a gospel mindset. The dreamy echo is good times in action, while references to a personal judgement day keeps things on the level. You can’t help wondering about that black dress.
This is an anthem, make no doubt about it. It sounds fantastic, in a tarnished spirit kind of way. And of course, the organ in the background at the end is simply the icing on the cake. It’s a final dance with the devil that sounds like a dip in the ocean. You know he’s going to feel drenched and alone tomorrow, with a pounding headache to boot. But that’s not this song. This song is glorious. File under bar music dreaming of an alternate life on the beach.
Listen to "Whiskey and Smokes" by Jacob Bihun here and get to know Jacob in our interview below!
Hi Jacob! Care to introduce yourself?
My name is Jacob Bihun. I'd like to consider myself your new favourite artist. I've been doing my own solo career for a couple years now and recently I've partnered with Canadian Daydream to bring it to the next level. I like my whiskey on the rocks, my music soulful and loud, and reading a thought provoking book every now and then.
Why make a song about darkness that feels so good?
I think a famous guy by the name of Carl Jung put it best: "If a tree wants to reach to the heavens, it's roots have to reach to hell". I think a lot of my latest tracks and this new single (and its album) really try and bring that concept to life in an impressionistic aspect. If someone wants to know who they really are, they've got to explore how awful they can be.
How have you enjoyed your creative journey so far?
Its been long, I can tell you that much. There have definitely been a lot of ups and a lot of downs but doing all of that and seeing where I am today? Definitely worth it, and I'm ready for more.
What was it like to perform alongside Juno award winner Shawn Kellerman and Nashville recording artist Joshua David?
Having the opportunity to open for those guys was unreal. Killer musicians to be around and I definitely learned a lot from that performance. I'd love to play with them again.
I have to ask, which King Street were you referring to in the song, and why did you want to reference that?
King Street is the party street of my university town of Waterloo, Ontario. I think for a lot of people here its a place where you go to forget about problems and at the same time find yourself on a little adventure that you really don't know how is going to end. I thought it fit the song perfectly.
What’s one crazy story you have involving both whiskey and smokes from your performance life so far?
There's definitely a night life that comes in to play while being a musician, that's for sure. Those two vices of mine really became more of a lifestyle. To be honest if I had any stories worth telling I probably don't remember them too well.
Why is it such a good idea for underage children to become heavy drinkers and smokers?
No comment on that, other than I think everyone has got to figure that out for themselves.
What was the idea behind the Paper Flowers EP?
Unfortunately my girlfriend of a year and a bit who I knew for quite some time prior broke up with me abruptly. Sure enough a few other things put me in a bit of a hole emotionally and the idea of doing an album was already on the table. That's when I called Canadian daydream up and decided that I was going to make the next jump in my career. The album in its entirety is really an impressionist take on the ideas of relationships and the emotions that one feels when losing that relationship. I think there are a lot of people that can relate to that. For me personally its something that I felt like I needed to do, and needed to say.
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