Playing Catch-Up

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June 10, 2009

tortoise_hare1_featureIt’s one of those life/blog paradoxes: we dedicate a lot of words to the new – new releases, new issues, new news – and yet, when it comes down to it, our personal, non-internet selves spend just as much time trying to get up to speed on things we’ve missed. History is fat, full of great stuff that happened while you were preoccupied with playing on jungle gyms or raising babies. There’s always something to catch up on if you set your mind to it!

Like right now, for instance, I’m discovering the music of the 90′s. I was under 10 and on a Pacific island for most of those years, and was honestly only marginally aware of the “country” classification for most of them. So I’ve been diving in.

Although the 90′s are regarded by many as a very strong period for mainstream country, my current catch-up squeeze is the alt-country group Old 97′s, and one song in particular: “The Other Shoe”, from their ’96 set Wreck Your Life. It’s a catchy, clunky little tune about a creepy husband who tells his wife he’s leaving for Phoenix (the specific phrasing is an apparent nod to Glen Campbell’s “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” – cute), only to hide under their bed and await the appearance of her lover, whom he promptly guns down along with his adulterous wife.

It’s a very simplistic sort of murder story, and Rhett Miller’s rough ‘n’ tumble singing style is probably polarizing, but I keep coming back to it because of it’s just got one of those unstoppable hooks. “The oTHER! shoe to faaaaallll.” It occurs right after the following sample cuts off, Grrrrr:


What music have you been catching up on recently? Any good finds?

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  1. Chris D.No Gravatar says:

    I’m catching up on Trisha Yearwood’s catalog, the only albums I don’t have are her debut and Where Your Road Leads, and I love “Hello, I’m Gone” from her Everybody Knows album. It’s quirky and country, always a cool mix.

    Outside of country, I’m catching up on the discography of Nelly Furtado. I picked up Loose from the library, and loved it so much I ordered her 2003 album, Folklore. I highly recommend her duet with Keith Urban, “In God’s Hands”, it’s fantastic.

  2. [...] So much of what is written is dedicated to the new, but Country Universe’s Dan Milliken wants to know what music you’ve been catching up on recently. [...]

  3. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve been playing catch up with Guy Clark and Kristofferson lately. I’ve been familiar with both on a very surface-y level for awhile now, of course (Kristofferson more than Clark), but I’m really enjoying getting to know their stuff more thoroughly right now.

  4. Greg MNo Gravatar says:

    I guess in terms of catching up, I’ve been acquiring SheDaisy’s entire catalog. Before I just had fortuneteller’s melody, but then I started getting stuff like Knock on the Sky, half of “Sweet Right Here,” and only three songs from the first album. I guess since they are coming out with a new album this year, I suddenly realized how much I really liked them rather than a casual liking from a year ago. It’s the same with the Dixie Chicks in a way. Really loved the stuff on Taking the Long Way, and for some reason that, (And what they went through with the whole overbloated thing) made me like their other records more.

  5. TrailerNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve been catching up on Dale Watson and Guy Clark. Also been “catching up” on Gary Floater.

  6. [...] So much of what is written is dedicated to the new, but Country Universe’s Dan Milliken wants to know what music you’ve been catching up on recently. [...]

  7. Matt. BNo Gravatar says:

    Oh the joy of 90s country and “Alt-Country.” I remember the first time I heard the Backsliders and Old 97s. Still have the Old 97s “Time Bomb” go through my head from time to time…

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