A Country Music Conversation: Spotify Playlist (thanks to reader Justin Lai)
Previous Entry: Day 4: “Blown Away” to “Burn One Down”
Day 5 features tracks from Sawyer Brown, Garth Brooks, Merle Haggard, Porter Wagoner, and Carlene Carter.
“Café on the Corner”
Written by Mac McAnally
I will always associate this song with my father being out of work during the early nineties recession, back when the construction market went bust. It was the first time I learned how visceral country music’s impact could be. I’ve had a deep appreciation for Sawyer Brown ever since, and I think that their best work has radiated a similar empathy.
Other Favorites: “‘All These Years,” “The Walk,” “Another Side”
“Callin’ Baton Rouge”
Written by Dennis Linde
When Eric Church gave a shout out to New Grass Revival in “Record Year,” my mind immediately went to this Garth Brooks cover. Sure, that band recorded it first. But has there ever been another record that truly captured the euphoria that Garth Brooks brought to country music? It’s the closest he’s ever come on record to matching the manic joy of his live shows.
Other Favorites: “Pushing Up Daisies,” “Mom,” “Friends in Low Places”
Written by Tommy Collins
When I ranked the 100 Greatest Men of country music a couple years back, Merle Haggard came in at #1. He’s simply the greatest overall artist: singer, songwriter, musician. “Carolyn” showcases his remarkable gifts as a singer, as he pulls of something along the lines of conversational extortion on the lady he feels isn’t treating him well enough at home.
Other Favorites: “In My Next Life,” “If We Make it Through December,” “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink”
“The Cold Hard Facts of Life”
Written by Bill Anderson
Hearing Porter Wagoner sing this song before he had the reputation for singing songs like this must’ve been a lot like moviegoers watching boy next door Anthony Hopkins on the screen in Psycho. He plays the poor sap being cheated on so well that you’re feeling awfully sorry for him…until he shows up with a knife. It’s dark, disturbing, and kicked off a much more interesting chapter in his career.
Other Favorites: “The Last Thing on My Mind” (with Dolly Parton), “The First Mrs. Jones,” “The Rubber Room”
“Come On Back”
Written by Carlene Carter
I can listen to this song on repeat and not get tired of it. A great hook, and a whole lot of heart. Carlene Carter’s other two big hits were almost like cheerleader anthems, they were so energetic. But “Come On Back” has a sincerity and maturity that is more reflective of her work overall.
Other Favorites: “Judgment Day,” “Me and the Wildwood Rose,” “Stronger”
Up Next: Day 6: “Cry, Cry, Cry” to “Elephant”