Since gambling was legalized in Nevada in 1931, casinos have sprung up throughout the U.S. and country songs referencing various forms of wagering have followed that trend, from “Ace in the Hole” by George Strait and Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler,” to Faith Hill’s “Let’s Go to Vegas.” The latest to lay the cards of romance on the table is singer-songwriter Jamie Floyd’s “Casino,” the hard-charging lead track from her debut EP Sunshine and Rainbows. Hear it below.
Comprised of a half-dozen indelible tunes, Sunshine and Rainbows covers a wide emotional spectrum, from the empowering “Casino” to the simple yet shattering title track that is — in spite of its cheery title — a devastating gut punch. The collection (out March 11th) also includes Floyd’s co-write with Allen Shamblin and Marc Beeson titled “The Blade,” which Ashley Monroe recorded as the title track for her latest album.
“Casino,” which was her first-ever co-writing experience with friends Jennifer Hanson and Lucie Silvas, turns the seedier elements of a gambling establishment into a wagering metaphor with the singer’s fragile heart at stake. “My heart ain’t no dirty, cheap casino,” Floyd sings, doubling down on the assertion that her emotions are not to be tampered with.
“Lucie actually had the title, ‘Casino,'” Floyd tells Rolling Stone Country. “It immediately sparked something in us and not only became kind of a fun image to put in terms of love, but it also became really empowering. For me, at the time when we wrote it, I had just gotten out of my publishing deal and had gone back to waiting tables. So I was inspired to jump into songwriting and writing for myself and my own company; writing with the combination of writers that I wanted to write with and writing whatever I wanted to write without anyone directing me one way or another.”
Floyd, who has continued to wait tables at a popular East Nashville restaurant while writing and recording her EP, acknowledges that it took some getting used to the idea of singing “dirty” and “cheap” together, since the two words are seldom adjacent outside of an AC/DC record.
“That was kind of uncomfortable at first, to hear those words back to back and to sing them back to back, but it was the truth,” she says. “That’s kind of like with this whole EP and with my music; as uncomfortable as [a subject] may be, I’m trying to stick to that. It’s a song that you can jam to and sing along to, but at the same time there’s an underlying emotional thing happening in the song. It doesn’t have to be that to the listener but it can be.”