I’m always discovering (or rediscovering) inspiring and amazing music, thanks in large part to my friends who either make music or know how to listen to it. Here are some songs you may or may not have heard.
Bad Bad Hats – “It Hurts”
With its minimalist arrangement, catchy beat and lyrics like “I cross my heart and hope to die, but my heart says you’re dying to cross my mind,” you’ll realize how amazing this song is even before the kazoo solo. Lots of songwriters try to refresh cliches into truly unique phrases but not everyone is as good at it. (Looking at you, pop country songwriters.)
Hank Williams III – “Straight To Hell / Satan Is Real (Medley)”
As vulgar (and obviously un-gospely) as Hank III can be, he has a firm grasp on the honesty, tragedy, heartbreak, violence, and redemption that makes songs by the Carter Family, Marty Robbins, and Hank Williams Sr. so engaging. Even for a rebel like Hank III, I think the opening clip of the Louvin Brothers song is just as much a tribute as it is a joke.
Hayes Carll – “Beaumont”
This is my favorite song by Hayes Carll, an amazingly diverse songwriter who is equally hilarious and heartbreaking. I saw him play at The Moody Theater in June and he opened with a beautiful performance of this song. I try not to research these things (songs can be just as fictitious as any other art, after all), but to me it always sounded like the narrator made a long trip to let a girl know he finally gave up on her. And lines like “You looked like forever, where the water meets the shore”? Yeah, that.
The Pogues – “The Broad Majestic Shannon”
I listen to The Pogues quite often, especially for someone who doesn’t drink, but every so often this song comes back to me and goes through my head for a week or two (I’m not sure if I’m currently on week one or two). Although Shane MacGowan gets a lot of attention for his drunken and unpredictable behavior, he can deliver a line like “You sang me a song that was pure as the breeze” with as much romanticism and sentimentality as any sober man.