The song tells the story of a woman seeking to end her heartache and her life in one fateful plunge.
“She’s climbing in Sedona in the middle of a warm September night/ Halfway up a sheet of rock it takes a pro a good two days to climb.” Chris Heers sings over gently strummed acoustic guitar, his voice as warm as the night in question.
Eventually, she reaches the top, drops her rope, sticks a toe over the edge, watches a few pebbles tumble down to the ground far below.
And then …
“She arches her back, pirouettes, dives into the clouds.”
After Heers sings the chorus, there’s a moment of silence.
“You’re thinking, ‘Man, she really killed herself,’ ” Heers says. “The song could end there. But I thought, ‘Screw that, man, this girl has a lot more life left. She’s still got a lot left to give.’ ”
And so as the music resumes, the woman opens her parachute and lives on.
“She walks away with a smile,” Heers notes with a smile of his own, working on a beer at Tommy Rocker’s on a recent Wednesday night. The song is “Halfway,” one of the many highlights of Heers’ poignant, stirring new album, “The Road Ahead Shines,” which he’ll release Friday with a show at the club in which he now sits.
Heers, a Las Vegas native with midlength blond hair and modest facial scruff, has been a leading light of Las Vegas’ country scene for years now.
But with “Road,” his second studio album, he embraces big-hearted Americana, with fat-free, studiously arranged songs evocative of the likes of Rodney Crowell, Wilco and Ryan Adams.
As Heers talks about the album, Rocker himself drops by our table to share his thoughts on “Road” shortly before taking the stage to perform Jimmy Buffett tunes to the delight of a group of Parrotheads nearby.
“It’s just got so many moods to it,” Rocker says. “That whole CD is like a story.”
More like 13 stories intertwined into one, many of them posited on shrugging off self-doubt: A waitress who aspires to be an actress finally gets her moment on the silver screen. A young man with a disability that leaves him unable to walk rides a horse in a moment of need, saving lives.
“The connective tissue is hope, perseverance,” Heers says.
The album’s lead track, “Fannye Katrina,” underscores his words.
In it, a man loses his boat in Hurricane Katrina. He floats in the Gulf of Mexico for three days, his life slowly drifting away, before eventually being rescued.
“This guy is in the most dire position that you could ever be in,” Heers says. “He’s lost everything. But at the end of the song you realize, ‘Wow, he made it.’ It’s going to be better than it ever was.”
For him, and Heers alike.
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at email@example.com or 702-383-0476. Follow on Twitter @JasonBracelin.