In the last few years we’ve seen a growing wave of unique renegades willing to give Music Row a steely stare-down in it’s twinkling, guided eye and adamantly refuse to become another cloned hat act.
This isn’t the first time it’s been done. The Bakersfield Sound with Buck Owens and Merle Haggard ran rings around Nashville from California and the original Outlaws packed up and did the same from Austin, TX.
Refreshingly, the current wave of musical misfits are women.
The Dixie Chicks kicked open the door for the likes of Miranda Lambert, Ashton Shepherd, Ashley Monroe and Kellie Pickler, Close on their heels came Kacey Musgraves. Now you can add Brandy Clark to that prestigious list of women reared on Loretta and Tammy but talented enough to bring the craft into the 21st century.
Like the original Music City Misfits Clark has worked both sides of he fence. She’s penned Country charting #1 hits for The Band Perry (“Better Dig Two”) and Miranda Lambert (“Mama’s Broken Heart) as well as Kacey Musgraves’ “Follow Your Arrow.”
On her single, “Stripes,” Clark channels Jimmy Dean’s “Big Bad John as she teaches her cheating husband the Cold Hard Facts of Life. Well, she would, but her good taste saves her from life without parole. It;s a brilliant gender reversal on a song that would typically been covered by Haggard or Cash.
“Pray To Jesus” narrative of small town desperation is similar to Musgraves “Merry Go Round,” but less detached and glib and more empathetic and bittersweet. The sentiment is made more so by Willie-esque twinkling piano, lonesome harmonica and Spanish guitar.
i can’t begin to tell you how thrilling it is to hear the bravery of conviction and shear talent in an artist like Brandy Clark. These are women raided on Loretta and Haggard as well as Lucinda Williams and Ryan Adams. Songs matter with these women.
“Stripes” and “Pray To Jesus” are on Clarks upcoming full-length debut “12 Stories.” Out October 22nd.