Gillian Welch’s Orphan Girl & Appreciating Country Music

Driving home from work earlier this week, I heard musician Tracy Chapman on the local PBS radio station, talking about her top three favorite songs.  I only remember two: Peter Gabriel’s Solsbury Hill and Gillian Welch’s Orphan Girl.

The former I’m familiar with, thanks to the Hubby (a long-time Genesis and Gabriel fan).  But the latter not so much, and I wanted to hear to the rest of it (as the radio program only played a barely 20 second snippet).  Thanks to YouTube, I got to hear the rest of it.

Searching out Welch’s song reminded me of a co-worker of mine when I was a zealous heavy metal fan, back when I was sixteen years old.  I was working part-time (mostly summers and weekends) in the medical records department of a south Dallas hospital.  One of the full-time staff members was an early 30-something grizzly-bearded dude who listened to country music at his desk.  I used to tease him about it, saying something along the lines of “Hey, my PARENTS listen to music like yours,” and he would give me a little smile and reply, “Just wait.  I used to listen to hard rock like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple.  Country will creep up on you like it did me.”

“Uh-uhhh!!!” was my oh-so-sophisticated reply back then.

Well… he was right.  Thanks to Southern Fried Rock/Alt-Country crossovers like Uncle Tupelo and blues-grassy/gospel stuff like, well, any song on the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack — of course, living in Texas since I was ten-years old helps — country music has caught up with me.

Just as well.  It’s easier to listen to a song’s lyrics without screaming guitars and shredded vocal chords. 🙂

And — no — I don’t hate rock now.  It’s just now, I have to be in a certain mood to listen to it, when it used to be my default radio-format-in-my-head.  Eh… maybe I *am* just getting old.  🙂


About lizardqueen

If single-mothering were a paid job, I'd be rich. However, it doesn't, so I write (which doesn't pay the bills) and teach (which does). I'm overly-educated in the liberal arts, but that doesn't hinder my ability to be pragmatic and realistic. YAY.
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2 Responses to Gillian Welch’s Orphan Girl & Appreciating Country Music

  1. lizardqueen says:

    E: I must concur with you on that one. The slide/steel/lap guitar for Hawaiian music — awesome. The slide/steel/lap guitar for country/western music — awful.

    Perhaps that’s why I lean towards the “bluegrass” sub-genre: more mandolin, fiddle, and banjo; less the dreaded “nehr-nehr-nehr NEHHHHRRRRMMM” of the slide guitar.

  2. eggplantinspace says:

    In the UK we get country music, but its normally covered by people like Ronan Keating and Westlife.

    My fiance lives in Oklahoma, and so I get treated to country all the time, and I just want to say that it really isnt that bad. It does, as you say, grow on you.

    I say that with one single reservation. I will never til the day I die, ever… ever… enjoy the whining irritating screaching sound of the slide guitar! I hear rutting cats making a more sonoric noise than that. I would happily eat my own ears rather than listen to that.

    Give me your fiddles and banjo’s as much as you want, but keep the awful slide guitar in a big box, buried under a rock, deep below a tree, in the darkest forest, on the planet Mars.

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