Krystal King Releases “Red Wine & White Lies” — “a sassy, tongue-in-cheek, cheatin’ song”

Donna Block

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If you were to write an intro for “Red Wine & White Lies” before it played on the radio, what would you want listeners to know about the song?

“Red Wine & White Lies” is a sassy, tongue-in-cheek, cheatin’ song. It has a southern rock chord progression combined with a catchy slide guitar and clever lyrics. A song about drinkin’, cheatin’, and a strong woman…that’s about as country as it gets.

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6 Things You Don’t Know About Me:

From Hickory, North Carolina. At just three years old, you heard a short snippet of Alan Jackson on the radio, and you became a fan. What stands out about Jackson’s music for you?

My parents listened to some country music, but were not avid fans. I truly just took to my own sound and found the music I liked at an early age. I think as a kid, I just loved his voice and the fun subject matter of songs like “Chattahoochee.” As I got older, I loved the instrumentation including steel guitar and fiddle, and the arrangement with lots of instrumental solos. I also appreciate his songwriting- he is often a solo writer on a ton of his songs which range from fun Honky Tonkin’ to serious and reflective songs such as “Remember When,” Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” and “Drive (For Daddy Gene).”

Studied Music Therapy at Appalachian State University (home of Eric Church & Luke Combs) and later worked as a psychiatric music therapist. How have you seen the healing power of music?

As a psychiatric therapist, music can really be a way for people to express how they are feeling in a less vulnerable and scary outlet. So many people relate to music and it can provide catharsis for them and lead to better coping skills in the future. I have also worked in a Cancer Institute and a General Hospital and it can be a great tool for pain management and relaxation.

Moved to Nashville in 2017. Early influences included artists such as The Chicks, Lee Ann Womack, Miranda Lambert, Sugarland, Eric Church, and Chris Stapleton. How have these artists shaped the artist you are today?

I definitely can hear the influence of all of these artists in my sound. I thrive in that 90’s country sound with clever hooks, story telling, and tongue and cheek lyrics. In my new album you can hear the influence of artists that blend blues/rock into their sound such as Chris Stapleton and Eric Church as well as more folky elements that can be heard on Miranda’s “Weight of these Wings” album and Lee Ann Womack’s vocal flourishes.

“I wanted to be an artist in the true sense of the word. Not only did I want to sing and be on stage, but I wanted to have a voice through writing and producing my own songs.” Co-wrote “Who Am I Gonna Love” with Thomas Kavanagh (who released it with Kirstie Kraus). It’s your third cut as a songwriter — can you share the inspiration for the song?

Thomas and I were actually meeting in person for the first time and wrote this song under a tree in Nashville during Thomas’s trip from his home in the UK. We were just chatting and trying to get to know each other better, so we talked about everything from career paths to personal relationships. This song came from Thomas expressing the desire to know who he might meet and love one day and wondering what that person would be like. It turned into a very sweet and authentic love song and I’m so proud to have had friends release it.

“You’re the Reason That I Drink,” the song is about your husband, whom you’ve known since high school band camp. Can you describe his reaction the first time you played it for him?

Actually, that title came from him…every time I would do or say something ridiculous (which is often) he would sit in his recliner with a beer and say, “You know you’re the reason that I drink right?” He said it enough that I decided to write a song and he would actually send me little lines and ideas for it. It honestly was just supposed to be a joke, but people enjoyed it.

Skydiving. Held all the pigs in the Bahamas. Panama City Beach. What places are on your travel bucket list?

Oh my! I want to go everywhere. I have actually never really explored out West. Being a country singer and growing up on songs about cowboys, I really want to see some of those places — Montana, the Badlands, the Grand Canyon…

Abroad, I would love to see Ireland, the Swiss Alps, and South Africa!

Can you share 12 songs that have influenced your life and career?

“Little Bitty” — Alan Jackson

This was probably one of my earliest memories of Alan Jackson and one of the songs that made him my idol.

“Angels in Waiting” — Tammy Cochran

My first concert was our hometown Fair, and I was introduced to this artist right after her first radio hit, so I quickly became a fan. Around this time, my great grandmother passed and as a little girl learning about loss, this was a really special song.

“Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow up to Be Cowboys” — Willie Nelson & Waylon Jennings

This is mine and dad’s song and was our father-daughter dance at my wedding.

“Goodbye Earl” — The Chicks

I used to sing this on the playground in kindergarten. I think it fueled my love for murder songs and just silly story songs.

“Either Way” — Chris Stapleton

I heard this song played for the first time while I was driving and trying to make a career decision/pondering a move to Nashville. I remember that I was just overwhelmed by the emotion and intensity in this song and thought “I want to move someone like this” and that confirmed my decision to move to Nashville.

“You’re Still the One” — Shania Twain

This was the first song I ever sang in public. I was itty bitty and out at a restaurant with my parents and a few family friends. There was a DJ at the restaurant, and they dared me to go up and ask if I could sing a song. To everyone’s surprise I went on up and knew every word of the song.

“Baby Girl” — Sugarland

I got to meet Sugarland at our hometown Fair right after this song hit the charts. They had an infectious stage presence, and they were so kind. The song is so well written, and it is about moving to Nashville and making it…which was what I wanted to do…and seeing them “make it” right at that time was invigorating.

“Church Clothes” — Kelleigh Bannen

I heard this song live at the Grand Ole Opry. It was stripped down, acoustic…just raw and real with vivid imagery in the lyrics. I could truly feel the heartbreak in her performance and the subject matter of hypocrisy or pretending.

“House That Built Me” — Miranda Lambert

Do I need to say anymore? This song and story are just beautiful.

“(Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay” — Otis Redding

In college, I began to explore more into 60’s music genres outside of country. I fell in love with this song. I liked the bluesy, feel-good vibe mixed with contradictory lyrics. It was also an example of a song that was truly about sitting in the human emotion you are feeling.

“Falling” — The Civil Wars

This song has dissonant chords and is just haunting and raw. It definitely started me mixing more “folk” influences into my sound.

“Up To The Mountain (MLK Song)” — Patty Griffin

Another soulful folk song. This one also mixed in faith and political ideas as Patty explored the emotions of Martin Luther King Jr in his “I’ve been to the Mountaintop” speech.

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