LISTEN: Izaak Opatz Gives Dierks Bentley’s “Drunk on a Plane” A Dirtwave Makeoever

Only a place like Montana could have fostered the splintered artistic visions of someone as wonderfully askew as Izaak Opatz. With his time split between Big Sky wilderness and the bohemian oasis of Missoula, Izaak’s muses are varied. Sojourns to the more bustling music cities of Nashville and Los Angeles notwithstanding, Izaak’s songs can be attributed to no real regional wellspring—they’re from the State of Izaak. 

His music zeroes in on the spaces between his life in the wild as a literal trailblazer in Glacier National Park, and the perhaps messier realities of living and loving amongst the rest of the world. In The Best Westerns, his yesteryear ensemble, Izaak’s songs occupied raucous songwriting real estate, festooning lovesick tunes with clever verse and a predilection for dirtwave makeovers. To Izaak, ‘dirtwave’ is “folk music with catchier clothes.” That wardrobe was handed down to his first solo album Mariachi Static, released by Mama Bird Recording Co. in 2018. Fitted with razor-sharp lyrical quirks, the album expanded upon his twisted country leanings to include more musical left-turns and detailed confessional storytelling.

Opatz is back with a cover of Dierks Bentley’s “Drunk on a Plane.” The second single off of his upcoming (primarily) pop-country covers record Hot & Heavy-Handed, which will be out December 11th on Mama Bird Recording Co. Here, Opatz and company bring the fiesta to the sky with country-rock, pop-sensible, and delicious rendition of Bentley’s 2014 hit tune. Opatz sways smoothly from a country baritone to a confident pop-sensation, cutting through a vicious groove of psychedelic steel guitar and twinkling keyboards.

Opatz explains his thoughts and inspiration behind this suprising pop-country choice…

Once you strip back the cocked-up production and aggressive, swaggering delivery, you realize there’s a lot of pathos and sensitivity to the lyrics, which is one of pop-country’s best (or worst) tricks – it jackets very vulnerable songs (about divorce, and heartbreak, and watching your kids grow up) in the kind of big-dick bluster that gives people who would never listen to Coldplay license to, essentially, listen to Coldplay and feel their feelings. Unfortunately, it’s this over-compensation by pop-country that repels a lot of listeners who value songwriting in other genres, and it was the urge to rescue some of my favorite pop-country songs from their own heavy-handed production that inspired Hot & Heavy-Handed, though I couldn’t help but throw in some tunes whose production and delivery I revere, from Roger Miller and Tom T. Hall to Lucinda Williams.”

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