I’m drawn to music that sounds both timeless and new. It represents to me the concept of the connection in time of the past and future all running like a river with us standing right in the middle with the muddy now caking our boots. It also assures me that there are forms of innovation happening within country and roots music that stand starkly in contrast to the Nash-pop variety (which is not always bad, but I’ll post more on that later.)
I’ve come across a couple of ladies making waves in that river of time and music by showing a palpable reverence for country music’s traditional roots while bringing a refreshing shot of indie creativity and a sense of daring into the mix.
Colorado native and Seattle resident and Sera Cahoone’s early life experiments with the sax and junior high musical path that led her to the drums where she established her bona-fides as a drummer for the now-defunct indie sadcore band Carissa’s Weird (who’s members also included Ben Bridwell and Mat Brooke now in the group Band of Horses) led to her surprising sophomore solo outing “Only as the Day Is Long.” the release is a country-noir landscape where Cahoone’s voice stretches sleepily over spare, atmospheric dobro, pedal steel, guitar, and fiddle backing. Like a slow-core book end to Neko Case’s Furnace Room Lullaby Cahoone’s themes of innocence, hope and dread are woven throughout. With titles like “The Colder the Air,” “Happy When I’m Gone,” and “Shitty Hotel” you know your not in for a sunny romp, but country and roots music has always mined a rich vein of the melancholy and Sera Cahoone has staked a rich emotional and musical claim.
As her early incarnation with the moniker Save Macaulay a teenager Nashville’s Caitlin Rose was able to deliver classic country tunes with respect and authority in her distinctively Dolly meetsEmmylou vocal style. After dropping alias and at the ripe old age of 20 this Waffle House aficionado has released a quirky and beautiful EP that was cut in two days in November 2007 at the Bombshelter studios in East Nashville.
The love of country’s history exhibited immediately with the EP’s packaging and on the first cut of the Dead Flowers EP. With ‘Shotgun Wedding” Rose sings the tune with a Smokey Mountain lilt over Bob Grant’s excellent mandolin . “Answer In One Of These Bottles” takes it’s place with another classic narrative of drinking to forget Rose then shows she has the pipes to take on the Patsy Cline classic Three Cigarettes In An Ashtray as she covers it with all it’sforelorn beauty. Docket is a quirky Kris Kristofferson -style solo-guitar number that is perfect Summer listening and a lone tambourine accompanies the whimsical Gorilla Man brings to mind ShelSilverstein play on words. Rose then tackles the classic Cosmic American Rolling Stones-come-Gram-Parson a;;ad of heroin overdose from which this stellar EP derives it’s title.
“Only as the Day Is Long” – Sera Cahoone
“Dead Flowers EP” – Caitlin Rose