Discussion: Recommend A Track

Lately, it seems that a somewhat popular feature of our discussion threads is Thursday’s Recommend A Track. So far be it from us to disappoint you, our faithful readers.

The track that I recommend this week is Kelly Willis’ “Sweet Sundown”, from her album Translated From Love. While Kelly Willis isn’t in the mainstream, I believe that the natural country timbre of her voice and intriguing songwriting matches and even surpasses many of the current crop of female artists that we’re hearing today. With its jaunty production, this fresh, bouncy song wherein Willis isn’t afraid to cut loose is just one of the many examples that help to prove my, admittedly, bold assertion.

So, what are your recommendations?


  1. My pick would definitely be “Lullaby” by the Dixie Chicks, from their latest album, Taking The Long Way.

    The song is similar to the older “Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)” from their Home album, but Lullaby isn’t necessarily directed at children, but it could be. The instruments in the song sound like a rocking motion, with the guitar repeating in the background and the other subtle instruments (such as the soft twinkling melody in the background), it’s heavenly.

    Even if you hate the Chicks, please check this song out, it’s great.

  2. My recommendation? (As if you couldn’t have guessed it,) “I Know You Won’t” by Carrie Underwood. If possible, listen to both the studio recording and her performance of it at the Opry.

    The song is a beautiful ballad of someone always left waiting for the person they love to be with them, when they themselves know that their significant other would rather be with someone else. It’s a strong ballad which Carrie raises to new heights, but what blows me away is the emotion she manages to capture in the recording and, ESPECIALLY, in the performance at the Opry.

    (PS: Chris D, I LOVE that song.)

  3. Getting to interview Kelly Willis put a very, very serious strain on my ability to reign in my inner fanboy tendencies. Translated from Love is a great, diverse record, and I’ve found that even her early MCA albums have aged much better than many others from the early-90s era. Why she wasn’t (or still isn’t) a massive star, I’ll never fully understand.

    To stick with a theme of beautiful, intelligent women with extraordinary, rich voices and songwriting talent that “surpasses many of the current crop of female artists that we’re hearing today,” I’ll recommend a track by Neko Case: “Set Out Running” from 2001’s Furnace Room Lullaby, which is her most country-sounding record.

    Case’s voice gets the lion’s share of the attention when most critics review her albums, but this is one of the many songs that captures what a phenomenal lyricist she is. To wit, how’s this for an opening verse:

    Want to get it all behind me / You know everything reminds me / I can’t be myself without you / Want to crawl down deep inside / The springs inside the mattress / Where I hide my dirty secrets / ‘Cause I just can’t shake this feeling / That I’m nothing in your eyes.

    While there are plenty of alt-country acts who are obscure for a reason, sometimes that “alternative” label really does mean “better,” and Case is definitely in the latter category.

  4. Am I allowed more than one? :)

    The Wrights “Planting Flowers” (I can’t stop listening to their EP; pick any song; “Home Sweet Highway”, “A Love Like That” are great too…)

    Emmylou Harris “All That You Have Is Your Soul” (This is from Emmylou’s recent album; it was written and originally recorded by Tracy Chapman, but Emmylou does it sweet justice)

    (Chris – I’ve heard Lullaby played at a lot of weddings!)

  5. I have a huge back log of albums to listen to that I’ve already purchased and the Wrights are on the list…thanks to your recommendation on another thread.

    I just received the five Pat Green albums for $25 that The9513 alerted us to last week in the mail today. So, that’s on the pile as well, along with four or five other albums. Must. Stop. Buying.

  6. I just love this song:
    <a Cupid’s Arrow by Amy LaVere

    It gets categorized as Rock on Itunes. It is a lot more country, as far as I am concerned, than some other stuff that passes for country.

    She describes it as ” this kind of Classic Country/Gypsy/Jazz thing,” herself.
    It is from a 2007 album called ANCHORS AND ANVILS that I have just recently discovered.

    For what its worth, She has also done some acting. Including a cameo as Wanda Jackson in WALK THE LINE.

  7. I’ll recommend “Black Shoe” by The Moondoggies. It’s a swaying country-rock number in the vein of The Band with gospel overtones and simple, sing-along lyrics. It’s a real upper…a perfect remedy to a gray mood. The harmonies are devine.

  8. I usually wouldn’t recommend a single, but I will for two reasons. One, Patty Loveless has been a topic of great discussion here lately, thanks to a certain writer’s killer interview. And two, when this song came up on shuffle in the car, I ended up playing it again. Twice.

    From Strong Heart, “The Last Thing On My Mind.” I never get tired of that one. I love the way that she sings the the verses with cool indifference but reveals her true feelings with a wailing chorus.

  9. I am recommending Lorrie Morgan’s recording of ‘Another Lonely Song’ – originally by Tammy Wynette. She and Tammy’s versions are kinda similar, but I just prefer Lorrie’s vocal on this song. It’s a great listen.

  10. I mentioned Tift Merritt in another column here; and a great track from her most recent release (her third overall), ANOTHER COUNTRY, is “Broken”, a perfect example of her being able to balance the alt-country style of today with the old-school (read: Linda and Emmylou) country-rock of the 70s. Even with the presence of pedal steel guitar on the track, it probably will never get any conventional country airplay because she’s too inventive a songwriter. No matter; she’s one of the great female singers of any genre to have come along in the last ten years (IMHO).

  11. I’m going to recommend “All We’d Ever Need” by Lady Antebellum. This song is my favorite song on their album. Hilary and Charle’s voices are great together! I love how much emotion they both put into the song. I found a more stripped down version and I prefer it to the album version but the album one is still great! Definitely worth a listen!

  12. One, Patty Loveless has been a topic of great discussion here lately, thanks to a certain writer’s killer interview.

    Kevin knows how to keep his writers happy. :)

    “The Last Thing on My Mind” is terrific. It’s a shame it missed my Top 25 list, but it again shows the depth of her talent.

    My pick: “Right in Time”, Lucinda Williams from Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (1998). The whole album is just plain perfect, but that single song, heck, the first verse, is ample evidence that you’ll be entertained for 52 minutes.

  13. Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “Walking Through Fire” from Come On, Come On. Amid all the hits that come off the album, this song strikes me as an overlooked gem. It’s one of those mid-tempo ballads that she does so beautifully, and even though there’s this calmness throughout, the sense of sadness and anger is always lurking just below and slowly building up.

  14. As I was doing why what seems like weekly three hour drive for work to visit a site, a favorite from his recent album came on – “You can’t hide redneck” – which me being from the middle of nowhere seems so appropriate sometimes because I catch myself doing the most redneck/hillbilly things….

  15. should have said it came up on ipod shuffle — but another one, that came up was “welcome to the family” by Little Big Town – must have had theme going –

  16. I’ll just copy my one from yesterday. Apparently I only had to wait one more day for Recommend a Track.

    I decided to listen to Carrie Underwood’s Flat on the Floor after only hearing a few time before because I knew that I kind of liked it. But now I love it.

    The energy in the song picks up immediately. Unlike a lot of songs that have somewhat interesting verses melodically, and better choruses, this song’s verses are just as exciting and energetic. Carrie’s vocals are of course very good as well. It’s just so fun!

    There’s only one major problem that I have with this song. Whatever I listen to after it sounds so mediocre and dull, but it usually lacks the same amount of energy.

  17. I love Last Thing On My Mind too :)

    I’m REALLLLLLY digging Ashton Shepherd’s The Whiskey Won The Battle. Lyrically it’s nothing too much new, but sonically it gives me goosebumps

  18. Marc,

    I actually asked Willis about the Claritin commercial when I interviewed her, and she said that they filed it exactly six weeks after she’d given birth to her and Bruce Robison’s most recent family addition.

    She jokingly had this to say about the experience: “I had to strap a girdle on to keep from looking like a blimp, but one of the funny things we heard somebody say afterward was that we looked like we were doing a Krispy Kreme commercial.

  19. I truely enjoyed Carrie and Brad sing at the ACM’s together, they harmonize very well. So I come to find out on Brad’s 5th Gear album there is a featuring CU called Oh Love, and i love it.They sound so good singing together they should record a duet for radio

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