With Their New Single "Bitter", Golden Shoals Sheds Light On The Pitfalls of The Music Industry

Article Contributed by Amy Alvey | Published on Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Cross country folk duo Golden Shoals ditches the idyllic portrayal of an artist with the release of their new single, “Bitter”. Co-written with esteemed singer-songwriter Rachel Baiman, the song is set to release on September 13th, 2023 and promises to be a poignant addition to the contemporary folk landscape.

Golden Shoals (Amy Alvey and Mark Kilianski) have continually proven their ability to craft compelling narratives through their music, and “Bitter” is no exception. Written from the perspective of a struggling musician throwing in the towel, it projects the career-pivot ideation that fiddler/songwriter Amy Alvey was experiencing in July 2020. The song’s emotive depth is further heightened by the collaboration between Alvey and Nashville’s own Rachel Baiman, a rising star in the folk music scene known for her evocative lyrics and captivating melodies. Its genesis was a direct response to an article published by “Music Ally” who conducted an interview with Daniel Eck, the founder and CEO of Spotify. Eck shared his thoughts about the future of music and streaming, which he said:
“You can’t record music once every three to four years and think that’s going to be enough. The artists today that are making it realize it’s about creating a continuous engagement with their fans…”

Alvey and Baiman reject the idea of treating songs as monthly “content creation” for online engagement, and find it directly at odds with the craft of songwriting. “Having this CEO tell me I have to play by his rules to ‘make it big’, while ensuring his wealth via the algorithmic hamster wheel...I resent that,” admits Alvey.

Verse 2 of “Bitter” explicitly acknowledges Daniel Eck:
“I had a vision, a kind of religion/What makes life worth living should pay/But I found no reason, nothing to believe in/Just men getting rich in my shade”.

Honest jabs at other aspects of the music industry also appear in the song, including the unpredictable and costly investment of PR campaigns mentioned in Verse 3:

“Once it was written, the machine had grown smitten/Rolling Stone said that I would go far/But the dog still needs feeding and with ends hardly meeting/I stopped counting on my lucky stars”.

“Bitter” captures the complexities of dedicating oneself to artistry, hinting at the vicious cycle of a music star rising to burning out. With irony not lost on the duo, Golden Shoals will have "Bitter" available on all major streaming platforms, including Spotify. There will be a limited edition merch item to celebrate the release: homemade bitters, made by Alvey herself. Bitters will be available for purchase online and at live shows. For more information on Golden Shoals, tour dates, and their upcoming release "Bitter," please visit: www.goldenshoals.com. Stay connected by following them on instagram, facebook and TikTok @goldenshoals.

About Golden Shoals:
Golden Shoals is a folk duo comprised of Amy Alvey and Mark Kilianski. With a blend of traditional influences and modern storytelling, they have established themselves as a distinguishing presence in the Roots/Americana scene. Their music is characterized by intricate harmonies, deft instrumental work, and a profound ability to craft narratives that resonate deeply with listeners.