Classically-trained punk-turned-country troubadour Jason Hawk Harris' new song, "Cussing at the Light," exorcises past struggles with its theme of self-medication and its music video's darkly humorous use of Norwegian black metal-style corpse paint.

This juxtaposition of serious subject matter and humorous visuals suit an artist willing to be upfront about the personal and family struggles behind his art while maintaining his wit and hard-earned fearlessness when it comes time to face a new challenge.

Hawk told Rolling Stone Country that the song's oddly upbeat tone replaced its original "sad bastardy" arrangement.

"There’s a completely different arrangement of it and recording of the song that’s very slow and very depressing,” he said to RS Country's Jon Freeman. “I started listening to the lyrics and, oh wait, this song’s funny. I was listening to a lot of Cajun music at the time and I just added a mid-tempo country Cajun feel to it and it all of a sudden made sense. It was like, ‘Oh man, I’ve had this song wrong the whole time."

A painful backstory lies beneath the humor. While writing and recording the album -- Love & The Dark, the former member of indie folk band the Show Ponies' solo debut -- Harris hit a personal all-time low. He lost his mother to complications from alcoholism, his sister was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and also gave birth to a premature baby who had cerebral palsy and his father was on the receiving end of a lawsuit from the King of Morocco, which tipped him into bankruptcy. Meanwhile, the singer struggled with demons of his own.

Love & the Dark sits within those darknesses, but doesn't pickle in them. The nine-song collection includes "Cussing at the Light," plus re-recordings of three songs from Harris' 2017 Formaldehyde, Tobacco, and Tulips EP: "The Smoke and the Stars," "I'm Afraid" and "Phantom Limb."

Love & The Dark Track Listing:

1. “The Smoke and the Stars"
2. “Giving In”
3. “I’m Afraid”
4. “Cussing at the Light”
5. “Not There Yet”
6. “Phantom Limb”
7. “Blessed Interruption”
8. “Red Room Blues”
9. “Grandfather”

Who is Jason Hawk Harris? 5 Things to Know

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