What if your mom is a punk icon?

Do you:

  1.  Make faces and say, “ugh, mom, please stop,” when she’s creating feedback and breaking strings in honor of Jimi Hendrix, after dancing and singing and urging people to riot for two hours? No temptation to wonder why she can’t be more like all her age-cohorts who are busy tossing AARP junk mail in the recycle?
  2. Cringe when she holds the string-stripped guitar up in triumph and says,
    “This is the only weapon I need.
    And I never run out of ammunition”  ?
  3. Feel happy to play with great musicians and flattered when she says,
    “I always wanted my own bar band;
    when other little girls prayed to be a nurse or a beautician,
    I prayed for my very own bar band”?

Nix on scenarios #1 and #2.

Fantastic show with Patti Smith last night at the Neptune in Seattle. The Banga band seemed even better than everything you might have read, or guessed from the last CD. Audience in rapture (the good, rock kind; not the fairy tale kind).

I came away with all the boxes checked for what I want at the end of a live show:

[x] a belief that I understand the artist in new ways, having reviewed 3/4s of my own life in the course of the show;

[x] can’t quit talking about her and her band in amazement with my friend, so awake past 2:00;

[x] recommitted to making art;

[x] hoping to be a better person.

Not tempted, however, to try that feedback/busted string trick in front of anyone who’s related to me.
And hope to avoid making up bad poetry, live in front of an audience.
(Don’t forget to check the new chapters from Nine Volt Heart.
And check this nostalgia shot from High Voltage Music Store on Pike Street in Seattle.)


Pork-belly Futures and Vestal Virgins

Thom Yorke in a long Guardian UK interview last Saturday (February 23) said:

“We were so into the net around the time of Kid A,” [Yorke] says. “Really thought it might be an amazing way of connecting and communicating. And then very quickly we started having meetings where people started talking about what we did as ‘content’. They would show us letters from big media companies offering us millions in some mobile phone deal or whatever it was, and they would say all they need is some content. I was like, what is this ‘content’ which you describe? Just a filling of time and space with stuff, emotion, so you can sell it?”

Having thought they were subverting the corporate music industry with In Rainbows, [Yorke] now fears they were inadvertently playing into the hands of Apple and Google and the rest. “They have to keep commodifying things to keep the share price up, but in doing so they have made all content, including music and newspapers, worthless, in order to make their billions. And this is what we want? I still think it will be undermined in some way. It doesn’t make sense to me. Anyway, All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. The commodification of human relationships through social networks. Amazing!”

I used to work for a corporation, where one day we writers woke up and found we were “content providers.” The corporate view seems to be that the Internet is a marketing vessel that requires words and video to be poured in, or a god-like entity that requires a continuing stream of sacrificial text/video, created by vestal virgins who spin content out of straw.

It’s like two web worlds live side by side, where one is flooded with corporate “content” to deliver “meaning” and edutainment to markets. The other is merely technology used by people who are making and sharing meaning, art, and connections.

Saying No to Commodification: Nix on Pork Belly Futures.
Lord help me, I never performed well as a vestal virgin and hope never again to work as a “content provider.” I’m encouraged by every sign that the making of music and good stories will continue to resist commodification and that people will find their own ways to share art and connections.

Also I prefer plain ol’ bacon to pork belly, because so many places just don’t prepare pork belly correctly

Somewhere in the middle of the cylone is a song

Neko CaseMiddle Cyclone

I’m convinced Neko Case is a damn siren. She is one of the very few female artists I consider myself a fan of even though I don’t particularly like a good majority of her music. There is a confidence in her song writing you don’t often see among women (sorry, but it’s fucking true) and a voice that is equally unmatched. [Your links and comments in your last post directly contradict the previous two sentences. It’s okay, it makes me love you more.—Cricket] I was discussing her sound with my friend and couldn’t quite verbalize it. We were sitting on my deck under the trees and a full moon and listening to a raccoon climbing somewhere and realized that that was it. There is something very closely tied to nature not only in her lyrics but in the grand and layered arrangements of her songs. Similarly, there is a uniquely haunting, almost magical element in her voice that conjures up some other unworldly, ethereal place.

My introduction to Case’s music was her 2004 live album, The Tigers Have Spoken, a raucous, up-tempo collection of standout covers and other tracks that don’t necessarily fit with her studio albums. Because of this I always want her to rock. I want that voice to boom and crack and punch my guts in.

Unfortunately Middle Cyclone does not rock. Like most of her albums it is an assortment of interesting and intricate songs that I appreciate more with each listen despite not initially enjoying them. But there is no belting it out like “Set Out Running” on this album. What did grab me at the outset are the three peppy tunes that show off Case’s sensibility to write music that is both clever and beautiful. Her use of repetition is its’ own language and is always purposeful, used here to great effect. There are a couple covers on this album that don’t compare to others she has done but I don’t mind them all that much. Her voice is so strong she can even make me like bands I wouldn’t otherwise enjoy. The album’s pace slows towards the end with similar fare to her previous work and, in what most will consider to be self indulgent crap, peters out to a final track of over thirty minutes of crickets chirping. Not kidding. [I fucking love the crickets. Not just for the shout-out to me, but because this is the kind of album I will listen to late at night while reading in bed and the crickets finish that off perfectly for me.—Cricket]

The new album is hit and miss but still makes me marvel at Neko Case’s ability as a song writer. The opener, “This Tornado Loves You,” is an almost comical metaphor comparing a psychotic, belligerent chase for love with a natural disaster. The duel between Case’s playful delivery and the desperate, uncontrollable actions born of a misguided aim almost pass for a narrative of their own. This duality is touched upon several times throughout the song, my favorite occurring as she sweetly and earnestly sings, “I carved your name across three counties.”


Her ability to be clever, however, does not mask the seriousness of her subject or the intent. In the very short second track Case sings, “The next time you say forever I will punch you in your face.” It’s a harsh line sung beautifully making me remember just who I was listening to. Neko Case is a hell of a singer who is frighteningly dauntless.

I could ramble on about that but the album cover is really all you need to figure out what you’re dealing with: Case kneels barefoot with her tangerine mane blowing in the wind, perched atop the hood of ’68 Cougar and wielding a sword. Seriously. A fucking sword.

Groove on down that county road

I’ve been resisting the Men of Action. The album has been gathering dust on my desk ever since I got a pre-pre-pre-release copy of it. You see, these boys are friends of mine. I like them, they are good guys and I respect them as musicians. I’ve seen them do some good rock n’ roll. I have confidence in their ability as songwriters. And yet, some part of me was worried that this album would suck. And then where would I be? If it sucked I couldn’t tell them and I’d have to go around making excuses to why I’d never reviewed it. Imagine my relief when I finally played Country for Groovers and discovered that it is awesomeness made manifest! Hurrah!

Country for Groovers is evolved country music. It sounds like perfect, clean, straight-up country made by boys who love rock n’ roll. The edge is traditional, undiluted country just this side of pop (real pop, not this Nashville pop stuff). Clearly influenced by good time boys from Dwight Yoakum to Doug Sahm to Willie, Waylon, Merle, Johnny and the rest of the apostles. The toe-tappin’, whiskey burn is temptingly diluted with a very 60s rock n’ roll jam, California beach pop, the Byrds, the Everly Brothers and steel guitar that runs closer to Hawaii than it does to Nashville.

Men of Action is a project of db Harris joined by Bryan Hartley and host of incredible musicians: Rich Gilbert (guitar), Mark Miller (bass), Pete Finney (pedal steel), Eamon McLoughlin (fiddle) and Jen Gunderman (accordion). Harris and Hartley are from Austin and Memphis respectively and you can hear the country influences from both regions in their music. Their harmonies are perfect. Harris carries a more laid back Texas/California groove while Hartley’s voice has a bluesy undertone of heartbreak in everything he sings.

The entire album is a tidy collection of the wide range of heartbreak, covering love lost, spurned lovers, love longed for and love that will never be. There isn’t a bad song in the bunch, though the first three tracks, written collaboratively by Harris and Hartley are exceptional, and really ideal embodiments of the kind of musical fusion the Men of Action are capable of.

You know how sometimes you put on a new album and it’s good, but it takes a few listenings for you to realize the brilliance of the album as a whole? This is not that album. From the very first song it’ll grab you and pull you in. “One Time Offer” kicks the whole thing off with a completely danceable early rock n’ roll riff, until the voices and the steel guitar kick in and make sure you understand that this is the real deal. The lyrics are simple, tight and beautifully suited to the musical stylings of these men (of action!).

Harris’s “If I Were a Cheater” and “Just in Case” are so beautifully country that I can imagine them on pop country radio—you know the songs you occasionally hear there and think, “holy crap, this is good, how did pop country radio get a hold of this?” This, I think, is the kind of music the mainstream country guys mean to make, but some how get derailed by the bizarre corporate culture of the Nashville music industry.

“Next Time Around” almost feels like time traveling. You can feel the roots underpinnings here, which keep it on a country album, but the song itself delves heavily into the 60s rock influence. Listening to it I feel almost as if I am wearing white go-go boots, a very mini mini-skirt and dancing around with a bunch of shaggy haired boys wearing Beatle boots. Hurrah!

The album closes out with “Tremble” a live track that tilts back toward the pop music of the 60s. It is a song of sweetness and joy, sung with a kind of silly tenderness that just isn’t seen in much in music these days, which really is a shame. It ends the album on a note of happiness that totally sums up the joy that this album gives me.

Because we want you to love it as much as we do, we are doing a give-away of two copies of Country for Groovers. Be one of the first two people to tell me in comments why you think you are a country groover, make sure to leave your correct email address and I will mail you a copy of the album (and then go tell the boys how much you love it!).

So, yeah, the Men of Action are my pals, my drinking buddies, but for once I haven’t let that influence me at all. This album stands solidly on its own two feet, one foot deep in the land of country music, the other bearing the weight of real rock n’ roll. Go on, get you a copy. You won’t be sorry.

They make us giggle like school girls

In anticipation of all the exciting new changes coming up here at HCT, Cricket and I decided to get our rock chick on and go see some shows a few weeks ago. Yes, Lucero was passing through at the time (they are on tour right now!). Shockingly, they aren’t the point of this post, because the Magpies were here the next night, and I am smitten. Seriously, we’re talking intense new band love affair. I can’t stop listening to their entire catalog and doodling “Daisy ♥ Magpies” on everything. (Note to Cricket: I wouldn’t pass out on the couch any time soon. I have Sharpies…) So forgive me if this is a little effusive and disjointed, and not the calm, rational post that you’re used to seeing on these pages.

I would write about Lucero, but I really can’t even bring myself to focus on them long enough to do so (do I have your attention yet?). I’ll let Crics fill you in if she so chooses. [Um, why would we do that? Remember, I drink, embarrass myself and you remember things. Plus all the stories I have from that night incriminate other people so I can’t tell them anyway. Boo.—Cricket] Besides, I kind of feel like if we haven’t sold you on Lucero at this point, nothing I say here is going to change that, so let me sum up:

Lucero came to town on a Friday night, rocked as per usual, played some new songs, and we had such a good time that we woke up Saturday kind of wanting to die. Cricket perhaps more than myself, but that’s what she gets for diverting from the “One whiskey drink and then only beer” plan. [In my defense it’s hard to refusing raving Lucero fanboys when they won’t let you leave the bar without buying you a shot. Plus it’s bad form to refuse free shots.—Cricket]

Unfortunately for us, we didn’t really have a chance to recover on Saturday, and I would like to take a moment to emphasize what a huge pile of suck Saturday day was in order for you to appreciate just how much the Magpies rock, because they rendered all that did suck meaningless with their awesomeness.

On top of the Lucero-hangover and the intense sleep-deprivation, Cricket had to work for part of the evening (because we do not yet rule the world, and thus must have jobs that pay us cash money). Meaning that I had to go to the show alone, and she would join me as soon as she could. My non-love of going to shows alone was enhanced this particular evening by the fact that, en route to the venue, the skies opened to unleash apocalyptic rain. Upon my arrival, the rain did not stop and after spending a good ten minutes in my car, I realized it wasn’t about to.

You know what I love more than going to a show alone? Arriving at the show soaking wet, looking like a drowned rat. Alone. I walked into the bar to a chorus of, “Oh you poor thing!” But that was just from the staff, because there was no one else there. Except for the band, of course. Rock on. You know what else is awesome when you’re drenched and alone at a venue with the staff and the band? Air conditioning. Sooooo many snaps on me.

That was the start of my night.

Eventually, however, I started to dry off, Cricket arrived and the Magpies got on stage and opened with “The Waiting,” my favorite song off of the new album. As you may recall, we were introduced to this band last October by Mr. Branan and loved them immediately. Their live performance is unspeakably good. I actually cannot overstate how good they are. It is, perhaps, even more impressive considering the fact that the small venue kept them from rocking out to their full potential. Specifically, keyboard player Justin Gorski, who rocked so hard at the 3 Crow Bar, was this time around confined to the accordion for most of the set. Which he rocked. There’s really no holding these guys back.

I’ve been trying to articulate to anyone who will listen (a.k.a. Cricket) what it is about the Magpies live show that sets them apart from the rest. It may be that they bring it. Despite the fact that Cricket and I accounted for about 70% of the audience, they played like it was a (much larger) packed house. They even, for the most part, valiantly ignored the loud, drunk sorority girls at the bar. It could be that they sound live like they do recorded in the best possible way. Lead singer Roger Hoover’s voice is incredibly smooth, with that perfect rough-edge rasp that we at HCT adore so much. It’s perfectly suited to the songs he sings and, let’s face it, sexy as hell. [Also, he has the twinkly-eyed charm of a sexier Robert Downey Jr. Although I don’t think Hoover shares RDJ’s problems… Maybe we need to come up with a better comparison.—Cric] [[I think anyone who knows of our truly deep and abiding love for RDJ would take this as the compliment it was intended to be. Twinkly-eyed charm, indeed – Daisy]]

It certainly doesn’t hurt that the songs they play are the musical equivalent of meeting someone you feel like you’ve known for years—energizing and infectious, but familiar and comfortable in some indefinable way. They have a new album out, Eastern Standard Time, which we will be reviewing once Cricket and I stop fighting over who gets to do it. [I love the album, but I am amused that you think I would do work when you are perfectly willing to do it.—Cric] [[Well played, Crics. Well played. – Daisy]]

Before I get started on that, I thought I’d share some of my favorites from their Whiskeyhounds era (all of which are available on CDBaby and Amazon):

“Blueberry Wine” — Got drunk early on blueberry wine/ sugar-sweet Mexican cigars
I can’t speak for Cricket, but I’m going to anyway. I believe this is the song that sold us completely and irrevocably on the Magpies. It was the day after the show they played with Cory and we were out running errands, listening to our newly acquired CD. It is a great song overall, but what got us specifically were the lyrics:

I’m a long way from East Texas, but I’ll be there unless these two-dollar girls finish my three-dollar wine

You had us at “two-dollar girls”. Well, really you had us at “got drunk early”, but it was all sewn up with “two-dollar girls”.

“Inside His Devil Grin” — There’s a man standing outside my door with a bible like a gun/ That way of life might work for him but I don’t bow to anyone
This song comes close to the frenetic energy of seeing them live. It has a furious drive and rhythm that makes sitting still impossible. That coupled with the controlled intensity of Hoover’s vocals is a perfect example of what makes this band so compelling.

“Roger Hoover’s Dream” — Daughter’s all in pigtails/ She never cries/ She’s got here mother’s hair/ She’s got her father’s eyes
This song has that slow, easy feeling of sepia-toned memories of lazy summer afternoons. It’s also got that perfect twangy edge that makes me think that the “mother” and “father” in the above lyrics should really be “momma” and “daddy”. I do, in fact, thus change said lyrics when I’m singing along in my car. FYI.

“Caroline Street Stomp” — You say I drink too much and now that it’s over, had to keep on drinking whiskey ’cause I couldn’t stand to tell you I loved you sober
If there were no other reason, this song would get honorable mention for the above lyrics. Especially with the follow up – If you ever got to hear yourself speak you’d know just why you’re alone. So many snaps in one song, it must might be my new favorite “eff off and die” breakup song.

“Sweet Angelyne” — I did you wrong, babe, these things are better left unsaid/ No use pulling stitches from a healing wound again
This is, perhaps, my favorite song ever. The rhythm of the lyrics fills me with joy, so much so that I am rendered fairly inarticulate. So maybe you just go download this song? You won’t be sorry.

What I’m saying is this. The Magpies are going on tour again starting in September, so if they are playing anywhere near you, take the chance to go see them. Tell them we sent you.

In the meantime, I’ll go start my review of Eastern Standard Time and you go check out the songs on their Myspace. And if you’re still not convinced? Here’s a video of Roger Hoover covering Cory Branan’s “White-T Girls”:

"She has unrealistic expectation for love"

Well, Valentine’s Day is once again upon us, and we here at HCT headquarters had a few days there where we were undecided as to whether we would take the opportunity to be bitter single girls, sitting around the house watching Lifetime and listening to Jagged Little Pill over and over again [This is surely hyperbole, it’s never been so bad that we have to listen to Alanis for salvation.—Cric] [Nor will it ever be that bad.—Daisy]. But then we remembered that we’re awesome. Also, we hate to be so stereotypically lame. Anyway, everyone knows that the suckiest holiday for a single girl is Arbor Day. Nobody wants to celebrate trees alone. [Except tree perverts. Yikes.—Cricket]

So, instead of eating our weight in peppermint nougats, we thought we’d share some songs about love and relationships that we dig. It’s what we do. [In the grand tradition of Valentine’s Day, we give you this present which is something you neither need nor want, is completely last minute and yet, it’s the thought that counts, right? We love y’all.—Cricket]

Lucero, “Nights Like These” — You’re surprised the first song is Lucero? This is what I like to call an “Oh, Ben” song, because after the lyrics:

I’ve only got this one wish
That I was good enough to make you forget
The only boy who ever broke your heart

you can’t help but sigh and say, “Oh, Ben.” Though I think I speak for the majority of Lucero fans (I’m looking at you, too, fanboys) when I say that Ben is more than sexypants enough to make a girl forget her own name, let alone whatshisface. But I suspend my disbelief, because this song speaks to the tortured unicorns of my soul.

Cory Branan, “The Walkaround (Amnesia)” — Speaking of unicorns! Unfortunately, Cory doesn’t have this song up on his MySpace at the moment. But, it is on YouTube, so there you go. This is a song about unrealistic expectations, amnesia, Soultrain, walkin’ around and… other things. What’s not to love? This is my bad mood song. No bad mood can withstand magic flowers and a fucking golden unicorn. But really, for all its clever lyrics and upbeat tune, it’s a song about being lonely, and just wanting someone to go out and do stuff with. To which I can certainly relate.

Chris Milam, “Maria, Maria” — This song makes me ridiculously happy, maybe even more so than the last one. Not that it’s happy-go-lucky content-wise, but every time I hear it, I just want to hear it more, as is the case with all music I really love (much, I think, to Cricket’s chagrin when driver picks the music…) [We all know shotgun shuts his cakehole when driver picks the music, so I keep it to myself.—Cric]. I could go on for awhile about how great this song is, but instead, I’m just going to post the intro Chris tells when he plays it live, because it makes me almost as happy as the song does. In Chris’s own words:

I’m writing a book. It’s a how-to guide. It’s called ‘How To Successfully Navigate the Dysfunctional Relationship.’ I’ve done about ten years worth of research on the subject.

I think any good, meaty, ridiculously dysfunctional relationship has four stages.

Stage One is Attraction. Pretty self-explanatory. Upon meeting the person, do you think, “Oh, they’re pretty,” or “Oh, I’d like to see them naked,” or “I wonder what they’d look like in my t-shirt at four a.m.,” etc.

Stage Two is Infatuation. In this stage, your significant other can do no wrong. They have faults, but you don’t see them because you’re infatuated. Listen to Lisa Loeb a little too much? Doesn’t matter, you’re infatuated. Laugh too hard at a racist joke? Yep, still infatuated. Never miss a Zac Braff movie? Well, that MATTERS, but you get the idea.

Stage Three is Stagnation. This is the moment when the honeymoon’s over and all the faults you overlooked before are now impossible to ignore. You’re not in love, you can’t imagine that you ever were in love, and the only thought that ever goes through your head is, “If I move to Greenland, how long until she finds me?” It’s the great part of any Hemingway story, where the girl bats her eyes and plaintively asks our hero, “Isn’t love fun anymore, darling?” and he says, “No. No it isn’t.” And then goes trout-fishing for six weeks.

Stage Four is Damnation. Here, you make a list of three million ways you can sabotage the relationship and go through them one-by-one. “Step 3,407: Accidentally poison cat.” And so on. Stage Four is my favorite.

I usually write a song about one of these four stages, but this song’s about all four of them, in order, start to finish. It’s called “Maria, Maria”.

And yeah, it’s a true story.

If you’re in town, check Mr. Milam out live Wednesday, February 27th at Christopher’s Pizza and Thursday, March 13th at the Rutledge. (In the meantime, if you missed it, Chris did a HCT podcast over a year ago, which is almost as good as a live show.)

Tommy Womack, “I Couldn’t Care Less” — When I first got a copy of There, I Said It, I didn’t make it through the entire album before I hit the ‘repeat’ button on this song. It is, quite possibly, the best fuck-off song ever. And not just because of he grammatical correctness of the sentiment. It’s fantastically cheerful and upbeat in its message of apathy. To me this song that unequivocally states, “You’re not even close to worth my angst.” It really doesn’t get any better.

The Jayhawks, “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” — I’ll never be all you want me to/ But that’s all right/ I’m gonna make you love me. I love this song for all it’s cheerfully aggressive optimism. Because who hasn’t had that Wayne Campbell moment of, “Oh, yes, (s)he will be mine.”? And sometimes it’s nice to think that love is something you have any sort of control over. Much like The Pretender’s “Brass in Pocket,” actually. Really, I just love the message of, “You don’t love me now? Just wait.” (Whoa, there was some evil laughter bubbling up inside me as I typed that…) [It’s also got a nice bit of that stalkery love that Steve Earle does so well.—Cricket]

Dolly Parton, “I Will Always Love You” — There are about a million and a half reasons to love this song. It’s the quintessential love song, for all it’s wonderfully teary-eyed inducing sappiness! It’s in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas! Lorelai sang it to Luke! But most of all, it’s Dolly! Need I say more? (Fail if you answered “yes” to that). [Dolly is love. Perhaps all one needs for V-Day is Dolly singing this song. Too bad about that other version, Dolly doesn’t get the play she deserves.—Cric]

Dave Matthews Band, “Two Step” — A friend of ours once expressed surprise to hear Dave Matthews playing in “the car of a Troubadour”. And I’ll admit that I’ve been mocked for my Dave love, but you know what? This is the band that made me love music in a way I just hadn’t before. And this is the song that made me love the band. It’s been over ten years since the first time I heard it, but the lyrics, Hey, my love, you came to me like wine comes to this mouth/ Grown tired of water all the time/ You quench my heart and you quench my mind still makes me sigh and feel a little swoony. I’m hard-pressed to find someone better with the dead sexy lyrics than Dave.

And, on that note, I’ll turn it over to Cricket!

The hardest thing for me here was not picking a bazillion songs about hideous, horrible, gut-wrenching heartbreak. [For me it was not picking all Lucero songs, which is kind of the same thing…—Daisy] Partly because I hate Valentine’s Day and partly, well, you know, if you ever read the site before, I love the gut-wrenching heartbreak songs. I tried to get some joy in here for y’all, but bear with me through the heartbreak, yeah?

Tom Waits, “I Hope I Don’t Fall in Love with You” — The first time I heard this song was twenty years ago (oh fuck me, really? that long?) in the midst of some teenage angst. I’d long since worn out my copy of the Violent Femmes self-titled album and was feeling around for something else to reflect my inner teenage heartbreak, loneliness and suffering. Digging through my dad’s vinyl collection I came up with big daddy Tom Waits. I was completely sold. Even today the song pulls emotions out of the dark parts of me I have been ignoring for so long. The song’s character who would rather suffer than risk rejection, who seems so hopeful at the beginning and so pathetically lonely at the end. You can’t help but fall into his fantasy and his emptiness at the end. If Tom Waits isn’t your thing (and really if you don’t dig this old Tom Waits, don’t tell, ’cause I’d hate to have to cut you), Amy Rigby’s “Knapsack” and Hayes Carll’s “Love at First Sight” both do an incredible job telling an original, new version of the same story.

Todd Snider, “Lonely Girl” — This song is like the antithesis to Wait’s, “Hope I Don’t Fall in Love with You.” We start the story with the lonely girl, alone, smoking, but wait!! There’s a lonely boy looking for a girl just like her! He thinks she’s the only girl for him. Oh joy! Rapture! They can run off and make lonely little babies who smoke cigarettes and are full of their own regrets!! It’s a beautiful love story. Okay, I confess, I know this was flip, but in fact this is one of my favorite songs ever. It strikes just the right tone in the music to make you feel the ache and longing of the characters in the song. And I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, yeah, I am lonely sometimes and waiting for that someone to come along and think I’m perfect. It’s almost as if the song was written as a hopeful poem just for me. Of course I feel that way about 90% of the songs I review here.

Amy Rigby, “Wait ‘Til I Get You Home” — This song is about sex. Yay! But it really is perfect love song. It’s perfectly that moment when you are settled and comfortable with someone but still so in love that you can’t keep your hands off each other. She paints a detailed picture of that swoony feeling of watching your lover and not yet being able to put your hands on them because of silly impediments like being in public. The song is so well balanced with a bouncy, clean bit of rock and roll behind it. You can feel in the music that hopped up, heart beating a little faster feeling of the anticipation of being alone with your own sweet baby. (Also, check it, Amy is blogging!)

Steve Earle, “I Thought You Should Know” — “I won’t tell you I don’t need you tonight.” Oh ♥Steve♥. I think we’ve all been there. Can’t even go there for more than a night because your heart is still so broken. It’s a love song and heart break song, and dirty one night stand, and romantic bit of new love all wrapped up in one. The part here that completely kills me is the:

I promise that I’ll do my best
To give you everything I got to give
And keep your secrets for as long as I live

It’s so sadly hopeful, it just breaks me every time. ♥Steve♥ is the master of the break-up song. It was a huge toss up between this song and “More Than I Can Do” (the ultimate stalker song, “just because you won’t unlock your door…”). [Yes, I almost picked this song, too, but I figured I could count on you for some Steve love.—Daisy]

Doug Sahm, “Talk to Me” — This song is a sweet, end of the night dance with the person you know you want to spend the rest of your life with. It’s looking beautiful, having the perfect dinner, a long slow dance by candle light and walking home, warm, in the moonlight. The song is Valentine’s Day, or at least what on would hope for it, if they were going to have ridiculously high expectations. As far as I am concerned Sahm is one of the original hardcore troubadours. Indeed, now that I’m thinking about it, maybe I’ll spend the entirety of V-Day listing to the man. “Talk to Me” is the perfect timeless, bit of romance for the day, for sure, so if you only listen to one song from this whole list, make it this one.

Johnny Cash & June Carter, “Pack Up Your Sorrows” — Right, like I was going to let love songs go by with out pulling out my man Johnny. And Johnny & June? Is there anything more romantic in country music? [Or the world?—Daisy] I have equal love for this version of the song, and the original by Richard & Mimi Farina, but the J&J version is happier some how. The instrumentation perhaps, being more country and less folky? Hard to pin down why. I so wholly embrace the sentiment here, lifting your lover’s burdens. It’s impossible and surely never works, but the idea of loving someone so much that you want to save them like that is romance.

Merle Haggard, “Wouldn’t That Be Something” — I can’t decide if I want the version from the recent Bluegrass Sessions or the one off 5:01 Blues. I’ve listened to them both back to back a couple times and I love the twangy, brilliant, albeit dated sound of the latter one, as it has a roughness, sort of an incredulousness to the lyrics, like he can’t quite believe the possibilities of lasting love, of changing love, of lost love found again. The newer version is musically more beautiful, but lacks the sense of surprise, it’s almost like Merle is singing it now knowing that all the possibilities are out there and all contain both pain and joy and he’s waiting to hear about you discovering it for yourself. So go on, listen to both and then go out and discover the possibilities for yourself on this day of love. So what if it could all fall apart, without love there’d be no country music and then where would we be? [Vancouver?—Daisy]