It's hard to watch Girls Guns and Glory's new Christmas video "Holiday Heartache" and not think of Hall & Oates' equally goofy clip for "Jingle Bell Rock." But the twang-heavy country-rock group's singer and founder Ward Hayden says he's never seen Daryl and John's surreal video. "The intro to the song is a nod to 'Jingle Bell Rock,'" Hayden tells Rolling Stone Country, "but this might be the first time in our career we've done anything that's resembled Hall & Oates."
The Boston-based Girls Guns and Glory, one of Rolling Stone Country's Artists You Need to Know, wrote "Holiday Heartache" after a run-in with a plastered pal in Kentucky. "When we arrived on the scene he was drinking Amstel Light and had been up for four days straight," Hayden recalls. "He said, 'Boys, whiskey is for the liver, but beer is for the brain!' I wasn't sure if what he said made no sense at all or all the sense in the world, but I knew I had to write it down. It wound up being the line that inspired us to write this song."
Recorded in Brooklyn, and produced by Eric "Roscoe" Ambel, who also oversaw the band's latest album Good Luck, "Holiday Heartache" was originally set for that LP until Hayden decided such a song didn't exactly fit the theme. Instead, he and the band saved it for the Christmas season, what Hayden says is his favorite time of year, though not for traditional reasons — Girls Guns and Glory play a series of tribute shows to their hero, Hank Williams, each time this year.
"We started performing this tribute four years ago to honor Hank on the two dates he never got to play: New Year's Eve 1952 he missed due to foul weather, and New Year's Day 1953 because of his untimely passing," Hayden says. "This year we're stoked because the tribute has really started to catch on. We'll be doing seven shows all around the Northeast in late December and early January."
Until then, Girls Guns and Glory are gifting their growing fan base the whiskey-soaked "Holiday Heartache" video, which they had originally planned to film outdoors on Boston Common. When the weather didn't cooperate, they moved the shoot indoors to Hayden's Medford, Massachusetts, apartment. It may have been a blessing in disguise.
"We set up our gear around the tree," he says, "and the videographer, Joan Hathaway, filmed us messing around and having a good time."