Going For A Song: ‘When I Call Your Name’

Vince Gill – When I Call Your Name

Since arguing the last two weeks for and against my proposition that the best country songs are the ones which teeter on the brink of parody of the genre, I’ve completely confused myself. Where I used to think ‘When I Call Your Name’ was definitely an example of a song to support my proposition, listening to it again, now I’m not too sure.

Eno before Eno…

Is what I thought when I read the song collector William Alexander Barret’s opinion, given in a lecture in 1877, on the song ‘Streams of Lovely Nancy’:

He is reported to have said that it ‘had neither style nor reason…as though someone had wantonly taken a pair of scissors, cut the lines out of a number of songs at random, and then put them together and made a song out of them’.

Folk Song In England, Steve Roud (p.91)

Then, when double checking I was right in thinking it was Eno the technique was connected with, I came across this by Austin Kleon: The (surprisingly long) history of the cut-up technique. Kleon discovers, via the writer Paul Collins, a form of cut-up (“cross-reading”) being used in the late eighteenth century.


Going For A Song: ‘The Promise’

Sturgill Simpson – The Promise

Some of the best country ballads are those that teeter on tipping over into parody. This balancing act is what produces in ‘The Promise’ a feeling of it being both contemporary and timeless. Sturgill’s sound on this song is unapologetically country ballad. As a listener you laugh, experience an emotional pull, and sing along when Simpson delivers the song’s ending chorus fortissimo.


Going For A Song: ‘Sans Revival’

Early Day Miners – Sans Revival

I’m looking forward to the paperback publication of Erin Osman’s Jason Molina: Riding With The Ghost. Not just because the book is about Molina, but because I’ve always thought there’s a book to be had in writing about the bands that sprung up in the Midwest during the late 90s and early zeros; bands like Songs: Ohia and Early Day Miners, who both released records on the Secretly Canadian label; and looking at the blurb to Osman’s book, she might have written it.

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Going For A Song: ‘Signed Curtain’

Matching Mole – Signed Curtain

What saved me from giving up on this song halfway through for it being far too bloody pleased with itself was the admission at the end by the singer, and the melody; which is made even more gorgeous and affecting for it being sung by Robert Wyatt.