Atlanta-based alt-country rocker Chris Stalcup wasn’t always a badass Southern musician. While lending his impressive musical talents to projects like his old band, Chase Fifty Six, and sharing the stage with big-name artists Shooter Jennings and Lucero, Stalcup maintained a two-decade career in advertising. On his second solo record, Downhearted Fools, released last month, Stalcup finally goes all in and strips himself bare, walking away from his career in order to devote himself fully to the music he’s loved for so long.
The album’s title track, “Downhearted Fools”, encompasses everything about Stalcup and his backing band, The Grange, that make them all so notable. Each component is so meticulously thought out and well-produced, crafting an anthem meant to break your heart with its relatability and then piece it back together with its comfort. The track is vast, rich with rocking rhythms, and Stalcup’s passion is clear in his desperate, gruff, wailing vocals. The music video, premiering exclusively on Elmore, takes the song’s characteristics and transforms them into a visual story, aided by Stalcup’s storytelling lyricism.
Thematically, the video for “Downhearted Fools” is striking but with a distinct storyline. Three different scenes either remain consistent or evolve throughout the video: a young couple in love and out of love, Stalcup and the band performing with unbridled passion, and an older man rediscovering memories. Bright, scenic b-roll of the couple is juxtaposed with the dark, rustic setting in which the band performs. At the climax of both the story and the music, the video builds against a steady rhythm until it erupts into gorgeous silhouettes shaking against a flickering lightshow. The power and passion are palpable, in both the characters’ emotions after a break-up and Stalcup’s fervor, felt in his aching growl and clear spirit.
With the music video for “Downhearted Fools”, Chris Stalcup tells the story of love found and lost, creating a vision through touching images and fierce performance.
Watch the video for “Downhearted Fools” below and connect with Chris Stalcup on Facebook. Read on to hear Stalcup’s own meaning behind the track:
Chris Stalcup on “Downhearted Fools”:“To me, being a downhearted fool is repeatedly giving everything of yourself in pursuit of your life goals, and not letting anything stop you despite the inevitable downfalls along the way. There are so many heartaches on the road to happiness, and sometimes it seems like only a fool would keep chasing dreams when you face so many low points to get there. This is true with most aspects of life—especially in relationships—but every once in a while it’s worth it. We all get downhearted sometimes, but it’s the persistence to keep going while knowing the heartbreak will happen again and again that makes a downhearted fool.
I’ve been through my share of relationships, and I have certainly had my share of low points, especially pursuing music. There have been some disappointing gigs along the way, and there were some pretty frustrating points making this record—things that were often out of my control and that made me question why I continue to do this. It’s the same thing with relationships—you just have to keep putting yourself out there. I believe people should be fearless in their pursuit of happiness, and fierce in their belief in themselves and what they want. A lot of things have changed for me since my last record Dixie Electric Company, and I wanted the new album to represent that.
Without being too obvious, I tried to capture this sentiment in the video for “Dowhearted Fools.” It’s the story of a young man falling in love, and then there’s some sort of rift where things go awry. He expresses his anger and frustration with himself while trying to figure himself out. And to do this, he writes down his thoughts that hopefully, eventually, she’ll come back to him. Flash forward 30 years and the same guy digs up the box where he’s kept all of his emotions locked away. And he pulls out a little reminder of what he’s held on to about her for all these years. He still thinks of her even though they haven’t crossed paths since. I think we all have a great big love like that, one that was amazing and unbelievable in so many ways and just as mysterious in how it fell apart and where it left us in its aftermath. But we just have to get back up and give it another shot.”