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Hope Is a Thing With Feathers

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Album Review

By now, with the arrival of Trailer Bride's fifth album in six years, you've either already hitched to the band's mobile home or decided to avoid this brand of jaded, bored, yet insightful alt-country altogether. However, if frontperson, guitarist, singer/songwriter, and saw player Melissa Swingle's sleepy monotone delivery and Trailer Bride's rather dark, moody country & western fits your desolate impression of life in the slow lane, then Hope Is a Thing With Feathers will fly as well as, if not better than, the band's existing catalog. Imagine Nico fronting Calexico if Gram Parsons wrote the songs and you're close to the stoner country vibe the band generates. Swingle adds piano to her arsenal of instruments on the comparatively jaunty "Quickstep" and Tim Barnes' vibrato guitar provides the perfect spooky, ghost town ambiance, especially when he plays slide. Daryl White's deliberate, often gloomy standup bass injects appropriately unsettling atmospherics. Recorded and co-produced by Southern Culture on the Skids' Rick Miller (at his studio), this album taps a deeper swampy feel, highlighted by the instrumental "Shiloh." However, the guitarist doesn't alter their existing sound appreciably. Some of these songs aren't particularly memorable and the band isn't pushing its established envelope, but there remains plenty to enjoy here, especially if you've already hopped on board Trailer Bride's gothic Southern vibe. If you haven't and you like your country on the bleak side, this is your ticket to ride the lonesome highway.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Chapel Hill, NC-based insurgent country band Trailer Bride was led by singer/songwriter Melissa Swingle, a onetime member of the all-female trio Pussy Teeth. Following that band's demise, Swingle switched from bass to guitar, began writing songs and formed Trailer Bride in 1993 with upright bassist Daryl White. Following a succession of drummers, Brad Goolsby joined the line-up, and with the addition of lead guitarist Bryon Settle, the roster was complete; in late 1996, Trailer Bride issued its self-titled...
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Hope Is a Thing With Feathers, Trailer Bride
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