As one of country’s freshest faces, rising star Jon Langston is still laying the groundwork of his career. But with the single “Drinks,” his next round of videos are two-for-one.
Originally released to rowdy crowds on the road last year, Langston planned to make “Drinks” the focus of his biggest year yet in 2020. But then things went sideways and for eight months, everything has been on hold — including the paychecks he and his band haven’t seen since the COVID-19 pandemic started. But in early November, Langston’s team released the official music video for “Drinks” … and for the first time all year, it feels like happy hour again.
“Hopefully this video brings [‘Drinks’] back to life and gives it a chance to be what I think the song is,” Langston tells Sounds Like Nashville. “When I wrote it I knew it was something special, so hopefully the fans can find it again and get on board.”
Co-written by the “Now You Know” hit maker with Jared Mullins and Matt Alderman, the dark country rocker works with the idea that you can’t judge a beer by its label. There’s a difference between having drinks and getting drunk, Langston sings — but from the outside, it can sometimes be hard to tell which is which.
“That story has been told but only vaguely, and it was a cool thought – like people are going out and they’re doing the same things, but for different reasons,” he explains. “Deep down they’re either truly happy or they’re getting over something, and you don’t know which.”
In the song, Langston narrates that contrast-in-thirst through the wake of a breakup. His character sinks into a bottle by himself, while his ex heads out to celebrate her freedom, and the video captures the polarized scene word for word. One half of the screen follows his drinking-for-fun ex, and the other half watches Langston as he wallows in despair at home, medicating a broken heart the only way he knows how. And all the while, his moody anthem plays in the background, Langston’s bourbon-soaked vocal offering just the right amount of burn.
“I had a vision,” he says of the clip. “I wanted it to be split screen and show both sides at the same time, showing how we’re both doing the same kind of things but they’re different at the same time, and it turned out great. I think [director] Mason Dixon did a great job, and he took my vision I had for the video and he went away with it. He killed it.”
The Georgia native says he enjoys being on camera, calling it “probably one of the funner things we do as an artist.” And in 2020, doing just about anything to further his career was a welcome change of pace — even if the beer he was sipping turned out to be apple juice. “I didn’t know the props coordinator emptied out the beer and put apple juice in it,” he says, “so it kind of startled me for a second! I had no idea!”
Still, the shoot made for an especially long day — and that’s part of the two-for-one special he’s got going on. With the pandemic continuing to rage on, there’s even more red tape involved in pulling off a video shoot, so Jon Langston and his team made it worth their effort by killing two birds with one stone.
“All the crazy liabilities and paperwork it takes to do a video right now – that itself was just frustrating, just getting it to work on paper,” he explains. “We finally got it all squared away and actually did two videos in one day, it was crazy. We made the ‘Drinks’ and ‘Happy Ever After’ video in one day.”
But the story doesn’t end there, as “Drinks” closes out its tap with a cliffhanger. After a long night of drinking his sorrows away, Langston gets a mysterious phone call and the screen goes black, flashing a tantalizing “To Be Continued …” The two videos are actually connected, he says, and will lead the way into a year full of new music. This “Drinks” video is just the first round.
“It’s the first time telling anybody, but at the end of the ‘Drinks’ video it says ‘To Be Continued,’ so the ‘Happy Ever After’ video because it’s the continued story,” Langston reveals. “‘Drinks’ is the part of the relationship where it’s over — she’s getting drinks at the bar and I’m getting drunk. And then at the end of the video I get a phone call, and it goes into another part of the story. ‘Drinks’ is the beginning of it, and ‘Happy Ever After’ is how the story ended.”