by Walter Price
My varying experiences and interests in albums and artists waivers over time but my Top 10 favorite country artists stay consistently solid. The numerical placement of these glorious names such as Johnny Cash, The Hanks (Snow, Williams), Jones, Haggard, Cline and the youngster on the list Dwight Yoakam may jockey for position in my personal list but they are always there waiting for my need to dwell on something or another, and that is a perpetual comfort.
Dwight Yoakam has a keen and respectful knowledge of what pure honky tonk (if not twisted and bent a little from what the mainstream expects) should sound like coming from a dusty jukebox tucked away in the corner of that oak floored dive or that newly discovered nearly forgotten roadside café. Nearly 15 years to the date (31 October 2000) Yoakam released his “Tomorrow’s Sounds Today” which is a very clever title if you dissect his career and this albums content. Brilliant really. Although this album wasn’t necessarily a commercial powerhouse it did chart a couple tracks in the States and it again paired the Cow-punk legend with his favorite Bakersfield god Buck Owens on a couple standout tracks. Most notable is the center track “The Sad Side of Town” co-written by and could have been his own hits Buck Owens.
When Gary Morse’s steel comes in you are immediately on that barstool peering into that bottomless pilsner glass going deep into whatever ails your soul. And regardless of whatever hurt is kicking you in the gut, songs like this make the pain of memories worth the trouble.
This is now and smoke and drink stained voiced late night wanderer Pauline Andrès has just released her cover of the Yoakam/Owens ode to lament. Where I find genius in Andrès version is in this performer’s knack for dwelling deeper into and reinterpreting things sorrow, loneliness and surreal. It’s like she’s been there before…On this cover song, she moves like a grainy film sombre all the while twisting and turning the pain up to 11 and it feels so right it’s good to hurt. Her voice reminiscent someplace between Lo Carmen, Penny Ikinger and Andrea Schroeder type lurking and is a wonderful dark delight. This is Pauline Andrès most accessible and defining work to date.
None of this should come as any sort of surprise, like Yoakam before her, Andrès has a passion and respect for authentic country music. She’s dabbled righteously in a cover of Hamk Williams and centered Patsy Cline’s name in song. Keep ears open the French songstress is prepping a new album as we speak.
Vocals/Guitar: Pauline Andres
Pedal Steel: Andy Ellison
Bass: Jack Davis
Drums: Mike Vecchione
POUR ANOTHER ROUND