Probably unsurprising to say you’ve often heard the phrase ‘I don’t like country’ thrown about recklessly. Maybe you’re guilty of even having said it yourself? It’s hard to commit to an entire genre, let alone one that doesn’t lend itself too kindly to strangers, sort of like an ‘Old Town Road’.
I ask you though, who amongst us haven’t been guilty of dipping our big toe in, whether it be a sunset on an open plain, a cowboy, even a tin of beans. I don’t know that I’m willing to start flying a lone-star flag but whether or not I’ma doe-see-doe my way out of this metaphor or not, there are aspects of country, and with elements within it, that I very much enjoy.
Some personal toe dipping faves are, Cash, Cake, and Holy Motor’s Horse, which just recently had its first anniversary, to name a few. When you stumble across an album or piece of music you don’t normally listen to, like Margo’s Pohorylle, it sends up a signal flare, so take note. There’s a reason for that, it doesn’t exactly fit into your format but, isn’t that the best part? Actually, I stopped writing this review on the grounds that I have no real basis on the subject but, ‘Flood Plain’ came on which isn’t only beautiful to listen to, but teases you in with clear and visual lyrics, so I stayed the course.
Pohorylle rounds up all the usual suspects; love, loss and, the big one, theology. The difference, for us personally, is that Margo gives these themes texture. A feeling, a sense. ‘Tehachapi’ is a song that marks the hard work and progress Margo has put into this album, and made her budding career on, a fun and care-free spin. Boisterous brass, vocals less sullen, a marching band’s feet hitting that homecourt beat, it’s got a little extra bounce in its step.
I don’t know a lot about different singing voices, but I know Dolly Parton considers herself a soprano. In ‘Brother, Taxman, Preacher’ Margo sounds a helluva lot like Parton, specifically ‘Yellow Roses’ but where Dolly’s lyrics coax you into reading between the lines, Margo’s blue-as-hell prose like “who to pity and who to fuck” tells you exactly what it’s like in each of the brother, the taxman or the preacher’s head. It’s all rather jolly though, sewn together with honky tonk pianie, guitar and organ.
A solid all-round album with the potential for much more on the horizon, don’t let this one ride off into the sunset.