The video for John Butler Trio’s “Livin’ in the City,” recorded while the Aussie roots-rockers were finishing their upcoming Flesh & Blood album, reveals one of the secrets of how the group – which have been bringing their brand of modern jam music to Australia for over 15 years – achieve their classic blues texture: Butler has alarmingly thick, talon like fingernails that he uses to bend out those classic chords. “This song was one of the most fun to record during the acoustic sessions,” Butler tells Rolling Stone. “In every format this song is a blast to play.”
In the video above, instruments are strewn about the walls while the band, in close proximity, ride the rhythm. Butler sings from the side of his mouth, flashing his teeth and adopting a country accent while snapping out bluesy licks. The video shows the band in close proximity, working off each other’s energy. As they play, the camera focuses on their battle-scarred instruments, pans past vintage amps and for a moment, gives us a glimpse of those ugly nails used to make such beautiful music.