A Country Music Conversation, Day 19: “Quittin’ Time” to “Seven Year Ache”

A Country Music Conversation: Introduction and Index

Previous Entry: Day 18: “Past the Point of Rescue” to “Probably Wouldn’t Be This Way”

Day 19 features tracks from Mary Chapin Carpenter, Eric Church, Sara Evans, Lynn Anderson, and Rosanne Cash.

“Quittin’ Time”
Mary Chapin Carpenter

Written by Roger Linn and Robb Royer

Mary Chapin Carpenter earned her first Grammy nomination for this hit, which is yet another example on this list of a great songwriter being a great interpretive singer. Absolutely love the drum riff that ends the instrumental interlude, too.

Other Favorites: “You Win Again,” “A Keeper for Every Flame,” “The Last Word”

“Record Year”
Eric Church

Written by Eric Church and Jeff Hyde

Songs about songs are hit and miss. This one’s a bull’s-eye. The records referenced are believable influences on the record itself, which might just be the difference between a name check song that works and one that doesn’t. I never believed Jason Aldean was riding down the road listening to Johnny Cash, but I can totally believe Eric Church alternating between Willie Nelson and James Brown.

Other Favorites: “Give Me Back My Hometown,” “Mr. Misunderstood,” “Cold One”

“Rockin’ Horse”
Sara Evans

Written by Matt Evans, Sara Evans, and Marcus Hummon

I still can’t believe this wasn’t a single. A killer vocal performance and fearless production make it soar, but the song is truly powered by the metaphor the song is built around. I don’t even want to spoil it, if you’ve never heard this before. But I’ll take this over “I Hope You Dance” any day.

Other Favorites: “I Thought I’d See Your Face Again,” “A Little Bit Stronger,” “Backseat of a Greyhound Bus”

“Rose Garden”
Lynn Anderson

Written by Joe South

Lynn Anderson pulled off a nifty trick here, much like Linda Ronstadt did when she covered “Different Drum.” “Rose Garden” is a song written and originally recorded by a man, and the lyrics are remarkably condescending when sung by a man to a woman. The role reversal – along with those killer strings – give her version a potency and wry humor that no male singer could match.

Other Favorites: “Cry”

“Seven Year Ache”
Rosanne Cash

Written by Rosanne Cash

“Seven Year Ache” introduced a new point of view for women in country music. It was young, it was intelligent, it was street, but it had the pulsating heartbreak underneath that connected it to the roots of the genre, not to mention the roots of her gender in the genre. I love that she’s been celebrated for her Americana work in recent years, but I’m still a sucker for her eighties stuff.

Other Favorites: “Never Be You,” “September When it Comes” (with Johnny Cash), “Blue Moon With Heartache”

Up Next: Day 20: “She Can’t Say That Anymore” to “The Sound of a Million Dreams”


  1. Carpenter – Goodbye Again

    Church – Homeboy, Springsteen, Talladega, Mr Misunderstood, Record Year

    Anderson – Rose Garden, You’re My Man, How Can I Unlove You, Top of the World

    Cash – Anybody’s Darlin’, Seven Year Ache, My Baby Thinks He’s a Train, Blue Moon With Heartache, I Wonder, I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me, Never Be You, entire King’s Record Shop album, Seventh Avenue, The Wheel

  2. Re. “Rose Garden”: If you’re going to be known for even just one song (though Lynn had many other hits before and after it), it might as well be this one, which not just huge on the country chart, but got up to #3 on the Hot 100 in February 1971, when you could hear it on AM pop radio interspersed with Elton John’s “Your Song” and George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord”.

    Rosanne: “My Baby Thinks He’s A Train”; “Blue Moon With Heartache”; “Ain’t No Money”; “I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me”; “What We Really Want”. She’s very much her own woman, while carrying on the musical traditions of her father.

  3. I’d like to thank Kevin for being the one who got me to take a listen to MCC. “Come On Come On” is my favorite country album!

    Carpenter: “I Am A Town,” “I Feel Lucky,” “Why Walk When You Can Fly?” “This is Love”

    Church: “Mr. Misunderstood,” “Knives of New Orleans,” “Smoke A Little Smoke,” “Hungover and Hardup”

    Evans: “Born To Fly,” “Backseat of a Greyhound Bus,” “Coalmine”

    Can’t speak to Anderson or Cash, but I do love Cash’s “September When It Comes.”

  4. My most played MCC track is “Passionate Kisses” and I usually think of that or “You Win Again” as my favorite too.

    For Cash my favorite song is “Runaway Train” but “The Way We Make a Broken Heart” is up there too. My favorite album of hers is Rhythm and Romance.

    For Sara Evans my most played track is “Bible Song”.

  5. Mary Chapin Carpenter is as crutical to my musical identity as any artist. When thinking about “Quiting Time,” I keep going back to the other version, the one featured on PARTY DOLL. I love how she stripped the song bare, giving an entirely different interpretation of the lyric. That album also gave us the definitive version of “You Can’t Take Love For Granted,” which revealed a growl and bite missing from the wimpy-by-comparison studio track.

    I cannot state enough my admiration for Eric Church. He continues to get right what all his contemporaries get wrong. He turns trends on their head, refuses to follow along and is the only artist who utilizes Jay Joyce for more than just adding needless clutter to his sound.

  6. Re MCC, love Quittin’ Time, one of the few hit songs for MCC that she didn’t write or co-write. Other favorites include Houston, Let Me Into Your Heart, Middle Ground, This Shirt and most of the songs from Come On Come On.

    Rose Garden is about the only Lynn Anderson song I’m familiar with and I first heard it on a NYC rock station. I have songwriter Joe South’s Greatest Hits on vinyl and recently bought it on i-tunes. Great album but I do like Lynn’s cover of Rose Garden better than Joe’s.

    Besides Seven Year Ache, Rosanne favorites: I Wonder, I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me, The Way You Make a Broken Heart

    My most frequently played Eric Church song on i-tunes is Kill a Word. It’s also my only Church song.

  7. This day’s list is tremendous.

    Eric Church is one of contemporary music’s finest performers, let alone just in the country genre. I love Talledega, Kill a Word and Mr. Misunderstood.

    Lynn Anderson. Wow, did I have a crush on her on the early 70s when I also fell in love with country music. (And speaking of huge crushes, who carries on today with Lynn’s I Never Promised You a Rose Garden? Martina McBride of course.) Cry was one of her other wonderful singles yet I have a deep soft spot for her Keep Me In Mind. It is hard to overestimate how significant she was to country music in her day; she held a strong cross-over appeal as well. And I know I saw her sing with Glenn Campbell and Jerry Reed back in the day. I have to look for those.

    Mary Chapin Carpenter. Well, anything and everything she has done stands at the top of the list in my book. Around 1992, she led the nearly full complement of Nashville’s female singers in a national tribute to the women of country. Her latest album is one of the finest of the past year. She is another artist whose importance to her time should never be overlooked nor a person whose artistry ever should be overlooked or forgotten.

    Sara Evans. Okay, I must be honest. Kick me, pinch me, whack me with a bat but this lady is one of country’s finest. Anytime she surfaces on the radio or on my Kindle music (or my wife’s as she has a lot of her music as well), I just stop dead in my tracks to listen. She has so many wonderful songs, yet one of her earliest with Vince Gill, No Place That Far, might be my favorite. Yet, A Little Bit Stronger and I Could Not Ask for More are right up there along with Back Seat of a Greyhound Bus are at top of the list as well. Anyone see or hear her duet of Jolene with Martina McBride? Marvelous. Check it out on YouTube, if you’ve not seen it. Sara is coming to New England next spring – I can’t wait!

    Rosanne Cash. I’ve come to appreciate her music later in life, yet thrilled to say, better late than never!

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