The opening line in Rachel Wammack’s debut single “Damage” is a character introduction: “I’m a bartender, best friend pretender,” she sings, describing a litany of functions she’s performed and things she’s seen. In the song’s new video, Wammack eases right into the role, serving up drinks and listening thoughtfully.
Wammack, a native of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, imagines this bar as a microcosm of all humanity — heartbreak, family loss, tentative excitement and joy are all palpably present. “Love can do some damage,” she sings in the chorus of this piano-driven ballad, though she celebrates and commiserates with each patron on an individual level. It turns out Wammack’s character isn’t just an observer of the way love leaves its marks, she’s muddling her way through it with one of her former customers who, for reasons unknown, is out of the picture. Wammack’s emotive delivery deepens the feeling of sadness and raises the question: when the bartender is everyone’s friend, who listens to the bartender’s troubles?
“Damage” appears on Wammack’s self-titled EP, released in April after signing with Sony Music Nashville.