Miranda Lambert sets her new single “Dark Bars” to stark images of Nashville’s shuttered nightlife, an industry that has been struggling since both a deadly tornado tore through portions of the city in March and the onset of the coronavirus.
Filmed on location at bars that had closed for the night — or were still shut down because of storm damage or the ongoing pandemic — the lyric video underscores how much the nightlife culture relies on human connection. Without people jostling for space at the bar or holding court on a stool, the rooms lack a beating heart. They’re temples without worshipers. “I’m here for the habit,” Lambert sings, “where nobody knows me/where I can be lonely.”
To capture the desolation, director Steve Jawn (Old Dominion, Travis Meadows) gained access to downtown Nashville staples like Legends and the Stage, and shot the facades — some of them boarded up — of East Nashville haunts 3 Crow, Beyond the Edge, and Drifters. There is a bright spot, however: the clip opens and ends on images of the newly rebuilt Basement East, the popular live venue that was destroyed during the March 3rd tornado.
“Dark Bars,” written by Lambert and Liz Rose is the follow-up to the country singer’s previous single, “Bluebird.” Both appear on Lambert’s 2019 album Wildcard.