Every little while I get into a musical rut, and I just can’t listen to anything except one certain type of music or a certain artist or sometimes even just a certain song over and over again. Sometimes it’s a good rut (a Girl Talk rut, for instance) and sometimes it’s a bad bad bad rut (a Womanizer rut, por ejemplo).
Ever since I’ve been up in Yankee territory I’ve gotten into several country music ruts. Now before you start thinking about Toby Keith and Rascal Flatts, just give me a second. I don’t mean that sappy, sentimental, over-produced, Nashville junk that you hear on radio stations around the 92-95 FM frequency on your dial. I mean real country music. The kind that makes you (and by “you” I’m really just thinking about Southern folks; I haven’t the slightest idea what real country music does to Northerners…I have a suspicion it might have the same effect as the brown note) want to get some beer and go to the river or drive out to the middle of nowhere and eat barbecue until you puke. So here are two of my favorite real country music singers.
First up, we’ve got Hayes Carll, a guy I stumbled across at some point on Amazon. He’s a great songwriter whose lyrics just make me want to sit outside in my friend Pat’s backyard, beer in hand, feet in a kiddie pool and soaking in the summer heat. Here’s what No Depression has to say about his latest CD, Trouble in Mind:
Trouble In Mind, Carll’s third disc (and first for Lost Highway), is a great big hoot, a kinda funny, kinda sad, virtually encyclopedic examination of the lives of luckless losers that navigates between territory usually ceded to either Carl Hiaasen or Tom Waits with a deftness that’s harder to achieve than it looks.
Here are two of his songs. I recommend checking out the CD for the full-band versions of both of these.
Hayes Carll – She Left Me for Jesus
Hayes Carll – Drunken Poet’s Dream
This next group is a married couple, Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson. Their take full advantage of their ability to harmonize with each other and create a much more somber sound than Hayes Carll. It’s not overly serious to the point of being a downer, but it does a good job of evoking some of the more haunting images I typically associate with the South. The crazy thing is: they’re from Australia. Apparently Kasey got hooked on country music as a child when her dad would play songs around the campfire at their house in the bush. She’s convincing.
Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson – Rattlin’ Bones
Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson – Monkey on a Wire