Keith describes his “David Byrne moment” of realisation, quoting the Talking Heads frontman’s iconic Once In A Lifetime lyric ‘This is not my beautiful house’, then continues with a more pointed metaphor: “If a bunch of trains [on the same line] are blowing up, you’ve got to go and find out who’s putting bombs on them back at the hub!”
In what Keith refers to as a “miraculous act”, Angie, an old friend from his teenage years, reached out of the blue. “She was just like, ‘Hey, how you doing? I’ve not talked to you in a while…’ And I was like, ‘I’m terrible…’ I just let it all out.”
Marriage had warped from honour to obligation to suffocating weight. “As a child of the ’80s and ’90s, who grew up in America, I was led to believe that marriages are supposed to be shitty,” Keith explains. “The guy is dumb. The woman is unfulfilled. Have some kids and make some laughs. I realised that I wasn’t married to a person. I was married to the institution of marriage.” Alcohol, meanwhile, had gone from being a tool to a tether. “I liked the person that I was when I was drinking. He was talkative and funny and honest. Eventually, I realised I always was that person. It was just about finding [another way] to bring him out.”
Discovering a kindred spirit and feeling a romantic spark, Keith and Angie (also married to a woman at the time) decided to take a mutual leap of faith, leaving old poisons behind and striking out together to find whether salvation really could be so simple. Their landing, thus far, has been blissfully soft.
“I’d written about leaving, escaping myself,” Keith expands. “Now I’m literally living the record as if I wrote it intentionally, wanting it to be a manifestation. I had gotten so far away from my own truth and complicated matters so thoroughly with alcoholism and guilt and shame, responsibility and obligation, I had lost who I really was. Once I was able to strip all that back, I could ask, ‘What do I love?!’ I love travelling. I love hanging out with my kid. I love hanging out with Angie. I want a dog. And I’ve always wanted a truck. Okay! I’m gonna have that now.”