Shot Through Your Cheatin’ Heart: “Open Pit Mine” and Country’s Cuckolded Killers

Country Gothic In her oft-cited 1998 essay, “Bloody Daggers and Lonesome Graveyards: The Gothic and Country Music,” Teresa Goddu contrasts “bluegrass” and country. I put “bluegrass” in quotes because the term in the essay mostly means songs that carry the legacy of  what Goddu refers to as “the Gothic.” Bluegrass does … → read more

“Billy Paul” and the Elegist of Music City

Vince Gill (promotional image, photo credit: JWright)

Introduction Those of you who follow us on Facebook know that we often recognize artists’ birthdays. That’s mostly my work. With plenty of thinking about mortality in our blog posts, it’s worth celebrating the musicians that help us find our way to meaning through their art. Besides, as 2016 already has … → read more

War & Love: Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town

Ruby

“Those songs are gifts” On warm, humid evenings in Pahokee, Florida in 1947, teenager Mel Tillis would hear the neighbors arguing. Through open windows, broadcasting across the space between their home and his, their recurring shouting match of distrust and acrimony would resume. The belligerents were a wounded veteran of the … → read more

Never Again: Redemption, Loss, & Wrecks on the Highway (Part 1)

This is the first of a two-part look at songs (“Wreck on the Highway” and “Percy’s Song”) about road crashes and their aftermath … The meaning of life is that it stops. — Kafka Impact Shards of shattered windshield, mangled steel, the stink of burning rubber. Torn clothes drenched with … → read more