Artist: The Bootstrap Boys
Hometown: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Song: “Even Though”
Album: Hungry & Sober
Release Date: April 28, 2023
In Their Words: “‘Even Though’ is me grieving the death of my father and thinking back positively on his memory at the same time. It was an emotional roller coaster to write. I have all these happy memories of playing and singing with my dad, and they’re sitting across the table from sad realizations about how that can’t happen again. He would be proud that I’m doing what I want with my life, venturing off the beaten path.
“It was a harsh realization for me to accept that line ‘even though he had to die for me to be the man that I’ve become.’ Without that painful experience of losing my father at the young age of 30, I wouldn’t have undergone the personal growth I was forced into. Without that sadness and loss, this song wouldn’t exist. I might just still be half-assing poetry over acoustic guitar at a coffee shop for a handful of hipsters. Sometimes it feels like I owe a debt to death for spurring me on.
“My dad played Johnny Cash’s ‘Don’t Take Your Guns to Town’ every time he picked up the guitar practically. The gospel and bluegrass songs he listened to and played (around/with me) when I was growing up carved and shaped me like water does rock. I reference a song from Tom T. Hall [‘Homecoming’] in the second verse. I wondered if being distant from your family and feeling alone and exhausted in this world is just a part of being a country music singer. I identified with that sentiment heavily, decades later. The names and faces have changed but the story stays the same.” — Jake Stilson, The Bootstrap Boys
Photo Credit: Sara Stryker Photography