The Gospel Whiskey Runners took their name from frontman Jerrod Turner’s family history of brewing and running moonshine in prohibition-era Kentucky. It’s a fitting name. Like good whiskey, The Gospel Whiskey Runners’ music goes down smooth, but packs a punch. The band’s 2011 debut album, Hold On, has an old-school folk sound that will leave you singing and stomping along.
It’s not hard to see why the album—which started as a Kickstarter project—has since gotten more than 16 million spins just on Pandora and had songs featured on shows such as Criminal Minds, Homefront, and American Idol.
The Gospel Whiskey Runners weave together influences from various genres to create their own brand of powerful americana. “Muddy Waters” is a tribute of sorts to the famous blues musician. “The Ticket” sounds like a folk spiritual. On a few songs, the sparse guitar intros are reminiscent of folk greats like John Denver and Bob Dylan, but the band adds layers of harmonies and instrumental melodies to build the songs into anthems.
Whereas Turner’s ancestors spent their days running whiskey, The Gospel Whiskey Runners aim to deliver hope and good news.
Our goal has been to bring our hope-filled songs to those who are stuck in the darkest places in this world,
the band wrote on their Facebook page. The songs on Hold On tackle disappointment, wounds, and life’s hardships, but always leave listeners with a hopeful aftertaste.
“The world it don’t feel right,” the band sings on the album’s title track, “love would win if it would fight.”
“Hold on,” they encourage listeners, “love will come.”
It’s an important message, and one that bears repeating, especially in today’s cultural climate. With this first-release of Hold On on vinyl, you can listen to the album over and over to appreciate all the lyrical and musical influences—perhaps with a glass of good whiskey in hand.