Somewhat of a change of pace this morning, we have a new SubEx bit to introduce that we are pretty excited about. In these (hopefully) weekly posts we are calling The Guestlist, we are inviting local musicians (and the occasional national act) to come up with a clever category and then to tell us about their top 5 songs in said category, hence the clever title.
This week's Guestlist comes from King Bucks bassist and former Sorta member Danny Balis, whose solo debut, Too Much Living, is one of my favorite albums of the year.
"My Five Favorite Country Songs" by Danny Balis
5. Hank Williams - Cold Cold Heart
A song way ahead of its time regarding how we bring expectations/disappointments of past relationships and project them on our current love interests. With its heartbreaking lyrics and a hauntingly pop steel guitar work it's Senior at his best.
4. Merle Haggard - Sing Me Back Home
Without a doubt, Merle is my top artist of all time. This longing number from the perspective of a death row inmate paints a vivid picture of what prison life may have been like in the 60's --although Merle only did a small stint in San Quinten for robbing a tavern.
3. George Jones - The Grand Tour
No one in country music can make me cry like The Possum. "He Stopped Loving Her Today" seems like the obvious choice, but this tune is penned from the viewpoint of a broken man trying to sell his home following a divorce --obviously something jones had to do several times --making this song even more real and heartfelt than his aforementioned hit.
2. Jimmie Rodgers - Hobo Bill's Last Ride
Without question, it's the saddest song I have ever heard. As a young lad, the images of a lonesome hobo taking his final breath in a freezing cold boxcar struck me right through the heart. Jimmie was truly the father of country music.
1. Gram Parsons - Return of the Grievous Angel
Maybe and odd choice as my favorite considering the traditionalists mentioned already, but Gram nailed it with this one. It's the perfect confluence of piano, steel, fiddle, female harmony and vivid lyrics about truck drivers, the road, and self-destruction. Alas it's the perfect country song.