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- Greatest Country Songs of All Time – Rolling Stone
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Since covered by Joan Baez, the Band, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen and plenty of others, "The Long Black Veil" has become a country-folk standard, a grim, haunting evocation of forbidden love and all its consequences. By Amanda Petrusich. In "The Grand Tour," the Possum sings the part of a deserted husband and father leading a stranger through a memory-filled house that is no longer a home.
The genius lies in the way Jones's voice evokes that ghostly feeling amid the lush excess of producer Billy Sherrill's strings, guitars and chorus. Although Jones was an admitted heavy drinker when he recorded it, "The Grand Tour" contains no clue to its protagonist's crime. Instead, there's only Jones's impossibly detailed, syllable-by-heartbreaking-syllable performance of a shell of a man condemned to life in a haunted abode that is full of stuff but devoid of love.
According to Owens' autobiography, Buck 'Em! When she asked what he would be doing, Russell gave her the line that would eventually open the song: "They're gonna put me in the movies, and they're gonna make a big star out of me. Here, the group sounded tight and alive, the promise of that first line making the second — "We'll make a film about a man that's sad and lonely, and all I gotta do is act naturally" — all the more cutting. A Beatles cover helped a younger generation discover his music but Owens recalls a flight during which his neighbor explained to him how she loved the Beatles but hated country music.
This autobiographical reminiscence was a gear-shift for Lynn, who'd made her name by feistily fending off hordes of honky-tonk homewreckers out to bed her man. The song originally rambled for six minutes and eight verses before producer Owen Bradley got out his red pen, excising a scene of Lynn's mother hanging movie magazines on their cabin wall as well as other homey details. It's country music's definitive started-from-the-bottom anthem, climaxing with one of popular music's most stirring key changes. Though Lynn is proud of her family's hardworking decency, she never pretends that her life would've been better if she'd never left Butcher Holler and poverty behind.
By Keith Harris. Leave it to the poet laureate of Texas country to not only tell a story of betrayal, but to make the turncoat a sympathetic character. In the song, the bandit Pancho Villa has been dispatched by the hangman's rope, but at least his suffering is over.
His sidekick Lefty, who set him up, has to die a thousand deaths, trying to live with what he's done while hiding out in cheap hotels up north. By David Menconi. Devotees have been puzzling over the meaning of this enigmatic masterpiece for 40 years, but it has yet to yield up a definitive interpretation. Parsons' protagonist is a none-too-bright bridegroom at a low-rent possibly shotgun wedding, where he is stood up for reasons unknown.
Maybe the bride died, maybe she ran off with someone else — it's never specified. So he and his groomsmen go on a drunken bender so epic, "It's lucky they survived. Duet partner Emmylou Harris blesses the proceedings with the perfect note of angelic sadness. But like most of her debut Same Trailer, Different Park, "Follow Your Arrow" isn't an attack on conservatism so much as an attack on any system that keeps us from being who we are, gay or straight, sober or stoned.
The first million-seller by a female country artist, this yodeling paean to the Wild West mythos made an icon of Arkansas-born singer-songwriter-actress-fiddler and Jimmie Rodgers fan Ruby Blevins, a. Patsy Montana. By Charles Aaron. Country's Greatest Actor and Crankiest Pill-popper. Prediction: Heartbreak wins again, in the most bluntly theatrical way possible. The couple's screwy marriage on the outs, they sound like they're about to wrap their hands around each other's throats.
Inspired by a made-for-TV movie about a handgun's history — going from cop to murderer to little kid — genius co-writer Bobby Braddock subs a wedding ring for the gun. But the narrative is no less gritty, working you over like a Cassavettes flick, moving from the mundane the intro's inexplicably frisky guitar to the devastating in the song's crowning scene, Wynette voices the man's palpable hurt, while Jones intones grimly, "She says one thing's for certain, I don't love you anymore".
The ring ends up back in the Chicago pawn shop from whence it came.
It's OK guys, just admit it - half of you are not 100% straight
Our protagonists, meanwhile, remain a dizzy gospel-invoking mess. The song that possibly best articulates the doomed country mythos that Hank Williams' life and death epitomize wasn't written by Hank himself. The blind country singer-songwriter Leon Payne wrote and recorded "Lost Highway" just a year before. Payne wasn't just waxing spiritually metaphorical: He was indeed lost along the highway, struggling unsuccessfully to hitchhike from California to Texas to visit his ailing mother, forced instead to seek food and shelter in a Salvation Army.
Apart from the song's introductory guitar riff, which Don Everly lifted from an earlier tune called "Give Me a Future," the brothers didn't write "Bye Bye Love. Originally an parlor song titled "I'll Twine 'Mid the Ringlets" a raven-tressed maiden's plucky response to being unceremoniously abandoned , "Wildwood Flower" was revived by Virginia "song catcher" A. He arranged it for his family trio including singer-autoharpist wife Sara and her lead-guitarist cousin Maybelle, who turned 19 the day the group recorded the song outside Philadelphia.
Its opening lyrics were mondegreened, pursuant to the mishaps of oral tradition. No version, however, is quite so outlandish as country comedian Dan Bowman's hallucinogenic variation, "Wildwood Weed. In the ensuing decades, the most famous song by the man once known as Mr. By Jonathan Bernstein. Not so much straight "country" as the blues seasoned with rural fiddle, "World" percolated through the western swing circuit as covered by Bob Wills and Milton Brown; became Fifties blues in the hands of Howlin' Wolf; and then Sixties rock via the Grateful Dead and Cream — a history that, if nothing else, cements the song as a kind of Rorschach test that ultimately filtered back to Chet Atkins, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Willie Nelson.
More recently, the Mississippi Sheiks became a cause for Jack White, who is reissuing their entire catalog through his Document label — presumably lured by that "real-thing" feel in their gritty but obscure sound. Did Hank Williams write perhaps his greatest "heart" song to spite his first wife, while joyriding in a convertible and eating ice cream with his second wife?
Wife No. At any rate, Williams was in full flail at the time, caught in a matrix of loves: Audrey ex-wife-manager, mother of his son ; Bobbie pregnant girlfriend contractually promised child support ; Billie Jean year-old new wife. It's not hard to imagine that the owner of the cheatin' heart was the guilt-wracked singer himself. While Don Helms' mournful pedal steel pierces the air, Williams sorrowfully laments a cheater's fate.
Completed in a single take during his last recording session, it was released posthumously and went straight to Number One. Lore has it that "Hello Walls" songwriter Willie Nelson once met up with Lefty Frizzell for a collaborative session, but when Frizzell took a break and left the garage where they were sitting, Nelson got the idea for his first major hit. When voiced by friend Faron Young, a.
Greatest Country Songs of All Time – Rolling Stone
In the storied country-song tradition, "Hello Walls" possesses a wit that makes you wince: Like a character in a one-act play, the heartbroken singer literally speaks to the walls, window and ceiling of an empty room, asking pitifully, "I bet you dread to spend another lonely night with me.
A phenomenon that created country music's very first superstar, the first of 13 yodeling records by "the Singing Brakeman" Jimmie Rodgers began three months after a middling session in Bristol, Tennessee with a traveling record exec named Ralph Peer — the sessions, in a former hat factory, also captured the Carter Family for the first time. Jimmie Rodgers tracked Peer to New York and he soon ended up in Camden, New Jersey, where he recorded the song that defined his legacy.
What was it about Rodgers' yodel? Slippery but controlled, despairing but casual, refined but so strange it seemed to have been beamed him from some distant star — it was the sound of pain made charming, even sweet. If he was really planning to buy a pistol and shoot poor Thelma "just to see her jump and fall," he would probably need to pick up the pace. Hank Williams was better known for seeking earthly pleasures in Saturday night honky-tonks than for belting out promises of salvation on Sunday morning. But this gospel redemption number was his longtime show-closer, an upright happy ending to the pageant of sin and sorrow that preceded it.
Fans so strongly identified Williams with the song that when a Canton, Ohio crowd waiting for the star's long overdue arrival disbelieved the announcement of his death, "I Saw the Light" was what Hawkshaw Hawkins sang in tribute to convince them that the sad news was indeed true.
Country music rebel Johnny Cash was at his best when taking extreme measures: all-black clothing, performing for felons, and singing about unbridled love with flames to illustrate his point. Kilgore, who later managed Hank Williams Jr. By Reed Fischer.
Long story short: He gives her a black eye, she poisons his black-eyed peas — but it's ultimately a love song since she reunites with her high school BFF by song's end. Besides, is there a gentler way to go than with black-eyed peas? In the whole of recorded music, there's no more pithy a summation of the psychic turmoil of long-term employment than "Take This Job and Shove It," Johnny Paycheck's declaration of autonomy.
Although the two-and-a-half-minute track was written by David Allen Coe, Paycheck was destined by both name and temperament to animate it, and there's something about the way he hollers "Shove it! Paycheck knows: Sometimes it's worth a couple months of peanut butter sandwiches to hurl your metaphorical apron across the room and dance out the door. Later, his job as a country singer was effectively shoved by a prison sentence for shooting a man. On the frolicking "Mean," Taylor Swift sounds like she has queen bees, bullies, I'ma-let-you-finishers and corrosively cruel music critics in her banjo machine-gun's sights.
From 's Speak Now , the song was an eventual Number Two country hit — and Number 11 on the Hot — partly because it captures the sting of "words like knives. This is year-old Swift balancing her sound to pull in country fans while also opening the palace gates for the still-greater pop stardom to come.
Arkansas-bred Frizzell had a gentle drawl that made even his rowdiest songs go down sweet. His debut single — covered by George Jones, Merle Haggard, and Willie Nelson — taught an entire generation of country vocalists how to sing.
The honky-tonker was immediate hit, selling a whopping , copies in two months. Lefty came up with the idea for the lyrics when one of his friends tried to convince Frizzell to go out with him one night. Tubb started his career as a Jimmie Rodgers mimic but lost his yodel in when a doctor took out his tonsils.
He soldiered on and became one of pop's first great terrible singers, with a voice so wooden that even he made fun of it. But like basically every successful youth-oriented musician of the last century, he had the keen idea to quicken the pace and firm up the beat, making the song as much about the accompaniment as the lead. If anything, Tubb's voice only helped foster the idea that he was authentic — a regular dude who made good on his shortcomings and sold millions. Carter, patriarch of country music's First Family, took a rather severe Christian hymn dating back at least to when the sheet music for "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" was first published , altered the title slightly, changed the lyrics substantially, and produced a stirring, stoic, nondenominational expression of collective sorrow in the face of death on a 78 rpm disc.
It would become a harmony-powered, genre-transcending standard, at funerals and elsewhere, in gospel, folk, country and country-rock. By Will Hermes. Don Schlitz wrote most of the gambling allegory in while walking home from a meeting on Music Row, but it took the songwriter six weeks to come up with the inconclusive final verse. Besides, Doo [Oliver Vanetta Lynn, her husband of nearly 50 years] liked to go out with the boys and have a few beers.
George Strait stands tall as the most influential country star of recent decades — a dashing but down-to-earth Texan stud in a white hat, keeping the old-school verities alive without getting lost in show-biz glitz or folkie purity. His white hat was such a signature that Strait could fire up insane amounts of fan controversy any time he put on a black one. The perma-brilliant James Blake has flooded his fourth album — Assume Form — with euphoric sepia soul and loved-up doo-wop.
His trademark intelligence, honesty and pin-drop production remain intact. The variety and scale of ambition on this album is breathtaking.
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Fans will be surprised to discover Tracey sings almost as much as he raps, in pleasingly gruff tones. The album title of the year gives us an image of Brexit Britain trashed by Old Etonians David Cameron, Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg, but the fifth studio work from the punk duo has more than social commentary to offer. Chris Harvey. The tension is stormy: imagine a mid-period Fleetwood Mac song, covered by Cat Power. The album takes in everything from jazz, funk and soul to punk and heavy rock, plus three carefully chosen features.
Solange Knowles has never been coy about the intent behind her music. Beautiful arrangements and seamless production notwithstanding, you get the sense, each time she drop a project, that it serves a distinct, zeitgeist-shifting purpose. And where better to dream than from the comfort of your own digs? Kuba Shand-Baptiste. Mark Beaumont. Tracks are at once astute and deeply personal in how they capture vignettes of everyday life and spin them into important lessons.
Dave spends Psychodrama addressing issues caused by the generations who came before him. By the end of the album, he sounds like a figurehead for the hopeful future. At her best, Sigrid throws out precision-tooled high notes like icicle javelins into vast, blue Scandi-produced skies. Then she growls like an Icelandic volcano preparing to disrupt western civilisation until we sort ourselves out.
Lux Prima was born just over a decade ago from a drunken phone call from Karen O to Danger Mouse — real name Brian Joseph Burton — during which the pair vowed they would work on something together.
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Danger Mouse is known for genre-hopping collaborations with artists such as Beck, the Black Keys and CeeLo Green, and he applies that approach here, too: the album is an impressive mix of blissed-out synths, psych-rock guitars and trippy hip-hop beats. Lux Prima is an accomplished record — proof that two wildly different minds can work seamlessly together. This is an ambitious creation, meticulously crafted and assembled.
For a start, the range of guest performers is a cornucopia of contemporary soul and hip-hop collaborators: vocalists Moses Sumney, Roots Manuva, Heidi Vogel, Grey Reverend and Tawiah; strings player Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, and keyboardist Dennis Hamm — both of whom have worked with Flying Lotus and Thundercat. To Believe, however, feels more expansive in reach. Elisa Bray. There are moments that recall her Communion labelmate Ben Howard, on his latest album, Noonday Dream, and others that nod to the quiet stoicism of Joni Mitchell and Neil Young.
Patrick Smith. Here, Lewis does what she does best: adds the glossy sparkle of Hollywood and a sunny Californian sheen to melancholy and nostalgia, with her most luxuriantly orchestrated album yet. Slide guitars give way to violas, which usher in eerie synths. Organs crop up throughout, evoking both Renaissance music and a fairground attraction.
The title track is pure euphoria, as restless synths of a Utah Saints or Orbital rave break into swelling bass and melody. Six months after the release of Oxnard, Anderson. Paak returns with another Dr Dre-produced record, Ventura.
Stage à La Roche sur Foron les 29, 30, 31 Juillet, et 1er Août 12222.
Where the former was overflowing with choppy, experimental sounds, guest appearances and clumsy attempts at Gil Scott Heron-esque revolutionary lyrics, the sequel — recorded around the same time — streamlines. Rather than being an album of Oxnard offshoots, Ventura instead borrows heavily from. Considering how few artists have such command of their craft as. Jack Shepherd.
Familiar faces and themes serve as his trademarks. Over all of it, he raps with an easy flow in gruff yet honeyed tones. Above all, he is conscious of what family means to him, and so bookends the album with a poem from him to his mother Jean, and one from his mother to him. No one could accuse Lizzo of holding back. Not when it comes to her voice — which is raw and rowdy, so laden with personality even the vulnerable moments are a joy to listen to — and certainly not when it comes to her message of unabashed self-love.
When Lizzo played Coachella earlier this week, her set was plagued by technical problems. It seems as likely as Old Man Steptoe dining with the Rees-Mogg, but this new tactic of burying their confrontational gruesomeness beneath a veneer of alt-rock respectability for album three works well for Fat White Family. Tarantino bossa novas and Velvets drones are all imbued with a luminous, cultured seediness, like the entire Cannes Film Festival owning up to its social diseases.
Wonderfully unsettling. Assisted by producer John Hill, whose previous credits include co-writing Portugal. Social Cues is an album where Shultz bares his soul, and apparently shakes off a few demons in the process. SOAK reaches to outsiders once again on her new album. In a way, Grim Town portrays the journey from adolescence into young adulthood — with all the introspection, resignation and wide-eyed forays into love that entails. She was deeply affected by the deaths, and would no doubt have been devastated by recent events in Northern Ireland as well.
It sounds like The Cranberries found some kind of closure in this last record. Hopefully fans will, too. On her third record, Aldous Harding combines the gothic folk of her self-titled debut with the dramatically intimate tones of her follow-up album Party. The New Zealand artist seems to derive a particular glee from unsettling her audience. At an age where the pressure is on to have everything worked out, Harding sounds delightfully free. Her whispering, spectral delivery and deeply personal lyrics are the key to this. Throughout, Collard exhibits his extraordinary voice, which swoops to a devilishly low murmur or soars to an ecstatic falsetto.
Dedicated covers the full, but generic, spectrum of relationships: dizzying love, lust, and break-ups. It is the perfect upbeat end to an album of polished pop. Perhaps this will put her at the top where she belongs. The production here is superb. But it was worth the wait. A track masterpiece, the album features the likes of Anderson. Paak, Little Dragon, David Lynch, and Solange, and serves up a hot, textural mix of hip-hop, psychedelia, funk, soul, jazz and electro. Ellie Harrison. Instead, his cold grime sonics are rendered down to their no-frills essentials — brutalist blocks of sad angular melodies and hard, spacious drums.
The result is a quintessentially London record, as dark and moody as it is brash and innovative. Bruce Springsteen seems to have told almost every tale in the grand old storybook of American mythologies, except perhaps one: a wide-eyed Californian dreamer finds the Golden State turns sour and flees back east, to some romantic speck of a town, to pine and rehabilitate. Where most rock superstars sink into trad tedium by 69, Springsteen is still crafting sophisticated paeans of depth and illumination, a rock grandmaster worthy of the accolade.
A must-have for anyone who has a heart. A revolving door of female vocalists A-listers, indie darlings like Angel Olsen and unsung songwriters deliver heartbroken lines over big, shiny beats and synths. It's a style that makes fans of vintage engineering wince, but snags the ear like a fishhook. And those quicksilver hooks just keep coming. A cornucopia of instrumentation is woven into its brisk minute yarn. Help Us Stranger has been a long time coming, but it was worth the wait. Philippe Zdar — one half of the French duo Cassius and producer for the likes of MC Solaar and Phoenix — helps the band reconcile their house and hip-hop influences.
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