12 Songs, 44 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

With the proliferation of the alt.country movement in the late-‘90s and early ‘00s, many artists with nearby ties (Graham Parker, Mojave 3, Asteroid #4) found themselves stepping over the line and trying out a roots-oriented approach. UK singer-songwriter Robyn Hitchcock had the acoustic part down, having made several substantial stripped down albums over the years (1984’s I Often Dream of Trains, 1990’s Eye and 2003’s Luxor, so it wasn’t much of a stretch for him to employ alt.country stars Gillian Welch and David Rawlings for a six day recording session in Nashville to hear what the collaboration could inspire. It’s not the alt.country experience you might expect. There are no pedal steel guitars whipping past the tumbleweeds and the harmonies never head towards traditional country fare. Hitchcock knocks things askew with his usual lyrical irreverence (“Some people are lost / They wake up in foil and permafrost” he sings for “Everybody Needs Love”). The Dylan cover, “Tryin’ to Get to Heaven Before They Close the Door,” shows Hitchcock’s “spooked” side, as he sounds resigned to life’s fatality, while “Creeped Out” works a groovy, stalking beat. Nashville never penetrates this British songster’s tough exterior.

EDITORS’ NOTES

With the proliferation of the alt.country movement in the late-‘90s and early ‘00s, many artists with nearby ties (Graham Parker, Mojave 3, Asteroid #4) found themselves stepping over the line and trying out a roots-oriented approach. UK singer-songwriter Robyn Hitchcock had the acoustic part down, having made several substantial stripped down albums over the years (1984’s I Often Dream of Trains, 1990’s Eye and 2003’s Luxor, so it wasn’t much of a stretch for him to employ alt.country stars Gillian Welch and David Rawlings for a six day recording session in Nashville to hear what the collaboration could inspire. It’s not the alt.country experience you might expect. There are no pedal steel guitars whipping past the tumbleweeds and the harmonies never head towards traditional country fare. Hitchcock knocks things askew with his usual lyrical irreverence (“Some people are lost / They wake up in foil and permafrost” he sings for “Everybody Needs Love”). The Dylan cover, “Tryin’ to Get to Heaven Before They Close the Door,” shows Hitchcock’s “spooked” side, as he sounds resigned to life’s fatality, while “Creeped Out” works a groovy, stalking beat. Nashville never penetrates this British songster’s tough exterior.

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