Three Must Have Gothic Country Albums
What surprises most folks about the genre of gothic country… is that something called gothic country even exists! If you get them to understand it is not quite Marilyn Manson in a cowboy hat (even though that holds a certain appeal) you can direct them to these three nightmarishly wonderful albums!
Reverend Glasseye-“Black River Falls” 2001
Formerly of Slim Cessna Auto Club it is Reverend Glasseye that brings a solid dose of darkness to the country-roots music world and is one of the early practitioners in the current gothic country movement. Reverend Glasseye & His Wooden Legs “Black River Falls” album is a gem of a recording that seeps the feeling of a dark carnival. A shot of Absinthe may go as well with this album as would a glass of whiskey. Glasseye brings a klesmer and sometimes circus element to this very theatrical sounding album. Songs like “3 Ton Chain” really transport you into a story of lonely travelers in dark times and Glasseye incorporates a cacophony of instruments to make a well layered and authentic sound that takes the listener far away. “Black River Falls” is a trip worth taking.
Those Poor Bastards-“Hellfire Hymns” 2007
A screen door slams closed in the first few seconds of this album starting off the song “Dust Storm” and the tone is set for the quintessential gothic country song that may be one of the most important to date. One of the most important songs to date because it has more in common with industrial or even black metal then with country music yet when Lonesome Wyatt swings the hammer down he hits the country nail on the head with a lyrical style that is sinister, lonesome and …sometimes…downright mean! Tunes like “God Damn Me” and “Hellbound Train” have a classic country/folk songwriting ethic behind the dark and domed layers of crunching and crackling music that swirls in the background of these brilliantly crafted songs. “Hellfire Hymns” is a gothic country masterpiece that is a suiting bridge between the punk/metal world and the country music world. Set your speakers ablaze with these “Hellfire Hymns”!
The Dirt– “Bury Me Tomorrow” 2010
Classic British and Scottish folk music combined with American country roots is not a new idea by a long shot. The Dirt raise the gothic country bar with their debut 2010 release called “Bury Me Tomorrow” and every song is a dark pleasure that takes a cue from those roots elements. Based in Glasgow, Scotland these songs about murder, lust, death and loss are well fleshed out and to the point. Every song is a gothic delight but the album truly succeeds by inserting ironically upbeat songs in the midst of this wicked musical revelry. After tunes that drip from the precipice of darkness like “Built This Church” The Dirt then delivers a playful number as they follow with “Love Is Like A Cold War” and alternating male/female vocals by Graeme Dirt and Jen Dirt on the subject of relational stubbornness’ is a ray of sunlight before the black clouds roll back in. The Dirt is one of the most exciting groups in their genre right now but I warn ye… depression is a part of this album. Evil is a part of this album….but greatness should follow this extremely promising band wherever they roam! Don’t be scared. Put your ear to The Dirt.