A Country Music Conversation, Day 6: “Cry, Cry, Cry” to “Elephant”

A Country Music Conversation: Introduction and Index

A Country Music Conversation: Spotify Playlist (thanks to reader Justin Lai)

Previous Entry:  Day 5: “Café on the Corner” to “Come On Back”

Day 6 features tracks from Highway 101, Old Crow Medicine Show, Pam Tillis, Lorrie Morgan (with The Beach Boys), and Jason Isbell.


“Cry, Cry, Cry”
Highway 101

Written by Don Devaney and John Scott Sherrill

Paulette Carlson had one of the most distinctive voices of the late eighties, bringing Highway 101 records to life. I’ve always been partial to this one, given its incredible opening line: “It’s just a little creek now, but when the rain comes down, it’s gonna be a ragin’ river.” I also love the extra beat between the second and third “cry” at the end of the chorus, as if they want to emphasize just how ridiculous the amount of crying is going to be.

Other Favorites: “‘The Bed You Made For Me,” “Whiskey, If You Were a Woman,” “(Do You Love Me) Just Say Yes”

Old Crow Medicine Show Remedy

“Dearly Departed Friend”
Old Crow Medicine Show

Written by Ketch Secor

“Wagon Wheel” may be their signature song, but they are so much more than that. I implore those unfamiliar with Old Crow Medicine Show to check out their Grammy-winning 2014 album, Remedy. “Dearly Departed Friend” tells of the funeral and repast of a young man who has died in war, and the attention to detail is stunning, as is the complete absence of sappiness or cheap appeals to emotion.

Other Favorites: “Mean Enough World,” “Firewater,” “Wagon Wheel”


“Deep Down”
Pam Tillis

Written by Walt Aldridge and John Jarrard

Pam Tillis quickly emerged as my favorite artist when I was falling in love with country music, and “Deep Down” captures what I love best about her unique set of talents: bringing a pop sensibility into harmony with traditional country music. I love the way the instruments talk back to her on this track, as if the electric guitar and the fiddle are doing a duet with her in the verses. And who could find a little bit of hope in her vocal while singing the line, “I’ve got the bleeding stopped, but there’s gonna be a scar” other than Ms. Tillis?

Other Favorites: “Maybe it Was Memphis,” “In Between Dances,” “Shake the Sugar Tree”


“Don’t Worry Baby” (with The Beach Boys)
Lorrie Morgan

Written by Roger Christian and Brian Wilson

“Don’t Worry Baby” works better as a female song, and Lorrie Morgan’s country bona fides are so deeply rooted in the Nashville Sound that she can sing a pop melody with the best of them. She performs this with such intense emotion that you can’t help but wonder if she can keep his car on the road by sheer willpower.

Other Favorites: “Last Night’s Make Up,” “I Just Might Be,” “Something in Red”

Jason Isbell Southeastern

Jason Isbell

Written by Jason Isbell

In my opinion, there isn’t a better male singer-songwriter out there than Jason Isbell. “Elephant” was the song that brought this epiphany upon me. Sharply drawn characters that are enduring a tragic situation, “Elephant” captures Isbell’s talent for cutting truths that are difficult to hear: “There’s one thing that’s real clear to me. No one dies with dignity. We just try to ignore the elephant somehow.”

Other Favorites: “24 Frames,” “Songs That She Sang in the Shower,” “Speed Trap Town”

Up Next: Day 7: “Even the Man in the Moon is Crying” to “Follow Your Arrow”


  1. I’d forgotten how good “Dearly Departed Friend” was. Thanks for reminding me. :)

    It’s been hard for me to find a way to participate in this feature. I’m more of a “listens to the same songs and artists over and over and over…” kind of guy than a “listens to as much as he can get his hands on” kind of guy, so I haven’t heard nearly enough songs from the artists that have been mention to have any place listing favorites here.

    That being said, I can definitely say that my favorite Jason Isbell song by a mile is “24 Frames,” and I would heartily agree that he is the BEST male singer-songwriter out there right now.

  2. Nice batch today.

    My favorites are:

    Pam Tillis – The River and the Highway, All the Good Ones Are Gone, Homeward Looking Angel, Let That Pony Run, Spilled Perfume & When You Walk in the Room
    Lorrie Morgan – I Just Might Be, I Didn’t Know My Own Strength, War Paint & Dear Me

    I’ve been a big fan of Isbell’s Something More Than Free album and have been meaning to check out Southeastern.

  3. I liked Old Crow’s “Dearly Departed Friend”. Thanks. I’ll have to check out more of their music.
    Also like Lorrie Morgan’s take on “Don’t Worry Baby”. I have the Beach Boys 45. DWB is backed by “I Get Around”. Saw the Beach Boys in ’67 and ’75. Other Morgan favorites: “I Guess You Had to Be There”, “What Part of No”, “Something in Red” and her “Sad Cafe” Common Thread cover.
    For Pam T favorites are:
    “All the Good Ones are Gone”
    “In Between Dances”
    “Let That Pony Run”
    “Spilled Perfume”
    “Cleopatra, Queen of Denial”

  4. On November 29th I wrote that I liked Dearly Departed Friend. Right before the ball dropped last night, i played it for the 28th time. I just played it again. Thanks again because I don’t think I would have found this song on my own. I’ve checked out some other OCMS songs but haven’t found any other so far that I liked anwhere near as much as DDF.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.