Music from the heart of heartbreak

BY ALEC GLUESING | JULY 02, 2015 5:00 AM

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Show Preview: Holy Broke, Mill, 8 p.m. today

Admission: $8, 19-plus after 10 p.m.

Kent Ueland plays music as one might expect to hear it at the Mill: country-tinged acoustic chords, with world-weary lyrics and rustbucket vocals to match.

Ghosts of past and present regrets flit through these songs like bar patrons among darkened tables — ease your heartache with a side of whiskey, if you’ve got enough years on your tires.

The Spokane, Washington, songwriter’s début solo album as the Holy Broke, Do It Yourself, washed ashore earlier this year on the wreckage of his old band’s breakup. 

“I was in a band called Terrible Buttons for about five years, and my girlfriend at the time was in the band,” Ueland said. “I could see the band was on its way out, as was this relationship. And that kind of created this hole I needed to fill. I needed a new outlet to talk about these things I couldn’t talk about in the context of the band. I started writing new, sort of more country songs that I never really intended to be played in public. That was kind of my way of getting through this [expletive] year that I had.”

Ueland’s work as the Holy Broke is musically inspired by an older generation of heartbroken country singers, including Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, and Waylon Jennings.

“It’s not necessarily a solely country record, but there’s definitely a lot of influence from that stuff I’ve been listening to,” he said. 

It’s worth noting that his lyrics are considerably more incisive and personal than their influences, sometimes alarmingly so — though on the final track of Do It Yourself, “Wellwishers (Part 2),” Ueland writes off his own dour wordplay as just “making money/off feelings that ain’t mine.”

Whether he’s joking or not, you can buy Ueland a drink at the Mill at 8 p.m. today.

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