dakota's american gothic playlist

Hello there! Today I felt like sharing some of my musical inspirations of late.

I truly love early 20th century country songs, Appalachian murder ballads and disaster songs like nothing else on this earth. They express such a beautiful and beguiling mix of sentiments. On the one hand, they're such pure, unaffected, morally righteous songs. No matter your religious views, the honest faith that no matter how bad things get in this world, there's something greater waiting beyond is really eerily touching. Then on the other side, there's so much morbidity and sorrow and evil going on in these songs;  people are stabbing their lovers left and right, little babies are dying, and forsaken ladies are just giving up and dying of heartbreak. It's such a hard, unflinching look at the cruel ironies and discomforts of this old world. As you can see I'm really really passionate about music from hardscrabble, rundown rural America, because well, that's all I've known for most of my life. I'm afraid I just can't relate to the privileged, suburban-raised folks that dominate most every music scene these days. So here are some songs of darkness, doubt, cryin' steel guitars and high lonesome sounds to give your week a bright cheery start. 

Lastly, why not listen to a radio skit by Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family?
(I love Maybelle as much as you, but good gosh, she can't act! AP and Jimmie aren't too bad, though, eh?)


  1. well, first and foremost: hurray! You won my print giveaway on my blog! So now you can swing by the shop and pick what you'd like :) be sure to send me your mailing address too. My email is audreyeclectic (at) gmail.com

    And second, I looove this type of music too! It really reminds me of the stories my granny would tell me about her relatives. I really love Southern Gothic. I even have my great-great grandma's coin purse and inside it is a police report she wrote out describing the mysterious death of her sister in law. It doesnt get more creepy family story than that, lol!

    Some good friends of mine started their own singing group along this line called "Welcome Little Stranger." You should look them up on facebook. They're a husband and wife team who write, play and record their own stuff :)

  2. I love this type of music. It reminds me of a song by Ralph Stanley from the soundtrack of "O Brother Where Art Thou". Here it is!

  3. such a huge fan of this music too! I can't believe what great musical taste you have considering your tender age. I'm sure I've said this before. I wish you were my niece & I was your cool older aunt & we could form a band where we sing heart wrenching mountain music together. that first photo is amazing. anyway, I want to send you a mixed cd so can you email me your address to nakedcowgirlvintage@gmail.com

  4. Your love for this type of music is the main reason I adore your blog!! I love all the songs you've listed here! I saw the Handsome Family live in 2005, I think. They were incredible! Absolutely great post! Being from rural Ireland, I think a lot of the same musical traits between us and the USA are shared. I think that's why I love country and bluegrass so much! :)

  5. Oh my goodness, you are such a kindred spirit! I am always so excited to come across other people who appreciate this form of music. I love folk music in general, but being from North Georgia I have always related to old Appalachian music in a big way. I agree, there is something about those songs that lift your spirits in a way that no modern type of music can do. Have you ever heard Rising Appalachia (particularly their earlier music)? They are a present-day banjo/fiddle playing group comprised of sisters who make beautiful Appalachian music with the loveliest harmonies.

  6. Thank you for the lovely comments!! I've been a little shy about doing music posts since so many new people followed my blog; I know lots of people find these old-time country songs to be pretty creepy and "Deliverance"-ish. I'm so excited to have found like-minded readers/bloggers!

    Mary-- Oh yes, though I prefer Doc Boggs version, Ralph Stanley is so so great. I was kind of mad they had the KKK singing it in "O Brother Where Art Thou", though; it's such a fantastic song, and now it's linked with those awful people!

    Plath Diaries-- I love looking at the lyrics of traditional ballads and folk song from the British Isles; you can trace so many of them to Americanized versions in the music of Appalachia. I want to see the Handsome Family live so badly, I hope they'll come by my corner of the world soon!

    Sarah-- I've never heard of Rising Appalachia, but I trust your taste and I'll go check them out right away!

    Crystal Lee and Heather, emails sent :)

  7. Thank you for sharing! I love hearing about other bloggers musical inspirations.

    Strawberry Moth

  8. Yep, my love of this type of music has not won me many admirers here in England. Such a shame. I get the whole Deliverance thing too, and it's a real pity because this is really as good as music gets. When Dock Boggs sings Sugar Baby, or when Roscoe Holcomb sings Trouble In Mind, or when The Carter Family sing Engine 143, that's the stuff of greatness. I'm so happy I've found this blog, Dakota. I just wish there were people like you here in Bath, as it is there are just a few of us, but that's okay. When the nights been long, and drinking has been done, we all sit around listening to Hank, Jimmie Rodgers, The Louvin Brothers, and life is just perfect.

  9. You should check out the movie Songcatcher. Lots of lovely music. I really like Janet McTeer as an actress and Iris Dement's voice is amazing.


    Sorry if this didn't pop up as a link...

  10. Glad you appreciated this post, Strawberry Moth and Tom Abbot!

    Saja... I love Songcatcher! What a beautiul film. The soundtrack was just fantastic, and the costumes/settings divine. And I have to hand it to Iris Dement, her voice is so warm and distinctive and beautifully twangy, I adore her.


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