Country

There are few aural pleasures greater than accidentally stumbling across an old song you used to love that had somehow slipped from your memory. That’s what happened this weekend when I found an album comprising the early recordings of Kimmie Rhodes.

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Joe Ely – Boxcars

21st January 2023 · 1970s, 1978, Country, Music

Country music was so uncool in the Seventies that I never went near it in my youth. Until I came across Joe Ely. There was something about his debut album in 1977 that struck the same sort of chord as the ramshackle thrashings of punk. But in an American way – specifically a Texan way.

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Merle Haggard’s self-penned number from 1974 has all the elements of the perfect Christmas song – a sad, sentimental, yet optimistic lyric, and a cracking tune.

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It wouldn’t take long to write down everything I know about this song, or the girl who sang it. At the height of punk, Stiff Records had a hit single with B-A-B-Y, sung by a 15-year-old girl from Akron, Ohio called Rachel Sweet.

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If anyone were to tell me this is the greatest single song of all time, I would not dare to disagree. It’s flawless – perfect tune, perfect lyric, perfect voice, perfect arrangement – and filled with such emotion that it makes me cry almost every time I hear it.
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I’ve been a big fan of Caitlin Rose from the start. Although not the very start of her singing career, because that was when she provided the vocals on the demos of the songs her mother wrote that went on to appear on Taylor Swift’s first album.
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Here’s a sweet slice of classic country heartbreak from a brand new band called Plains – a duo of Katie Crutchfield and Jess Williamson. (more…)

If you’d ever wondered what Lou Reed might have sounded like if he’d chosen a career in country music* Garrett T. Capps provides the answer. (more…)

Steady Habits sound like an old-timey country music band from somewhere in the American South – but actually come from Oxford. (more…)

As Russia invades Ukraine, here’s a message for all the world, conveyed in the lockdown video shot at home by Sharon Van Etten and Josh Homme. (more…)