Even though it sounds like a honky-tonk classic, Joseph Huber wrote “Two-Tongued Swear” as a nod to all of his friends who have quit drinking.
“I myself am actually not one of those many who have let the bottle down, so it’s not fully autobiographical, I must admit,” Huber says. “I have a friend who confessed some getting sober stories to me — some regrettable things said or done to loved ones during one’s lowest points of alcoholism. He was a big fan of ‘Fell Off the Wagon,’ a song off my last album, so it all started being inspired by him initially. But then I realized how many friends and acquaintances had recently gone sober.”
He continues, “I thought sober folks deserve a song to counter all the drinking tunes. So I wrote it in first-person, as I usually do, so folks could sing it in their own voice in a way and sing, ‘I let the bottle down.’ I wanted to make sure the song felt personal yet compose the lyric in a general way so that each person could insert themselves and their own backstory into it.”
Even with a chorus that alludes to Merle Haggard’s “The Bottle Let Me Down,” Huber came up with a new approach to talking about the issue.
“The phrase ‘two-tongued swear’ is sort of original, in a way,” he says. “It for sure won’t pop up in an Internet search. It’s a simple twist on ‘forked tongue.’ It kinda popped out and made sense to me as a way of saying ‘to say one thing and do another.’
“A lot of folks might mean things when they say them in their most sincerest heart of hearts, but reality has a way of making liars of us when we fall short of the promises we make. So it just means you will try to do what you say. Although true everyday change is the hardest thing to promise, so saying it with a sober mind is important … or necessary.”
Remarkably, Huber played every instrument on “Two-Tongued Swear” and its accompanying album, The Hanging Road.
“One thing I remember about this track is playing the mandolin on it to help build and add some depth to the track after only having owned a mandolin for about three days,” he says. “I just picked one up and figured out a line and melody I liked and put it in there. It’s nothing special, but, hey … it works.”
Check out Joseph Huber’s “Two-Tongued Swear.”