Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rocktober XVIII

Today's song just says autumn to me.  Whenever the air starts to get a little crisp and the first leaves start to fall, I have to break this one out. Both written and performed by New York-by-way-of-Nashville country singer Laura Cantrell, the song "Curse of Hook Mountain" appeared on her very first album, the 1996 Hello EP. Since then she has gone on to release four full-length albums, the most recent being this year's Kitty Wells Dresses.

Cantrell began singing while she was a student at Columbia University, where she also began deejaying on the university radio station's country music program. She later moved her show to New Jersey's WFMU and called it The Radio Thriftshop, which ran regularly from 1993-2005. Specializing in playing songs that were "often scratchy, stringy, and swingy," Cantrell became known not only for her own music, but for being something of a country music scholar. In fact, each of her albums includes a song that pays tribute to one of the queens of country music. "Queen of the Coast" on the album Not the Tremblin' Kind is about Bonnie Owens, and "Mountain Fern" on When the Roses Bloom Again is about Molly O'Day.

As gracious as she is, though, and as pretty as she sings, she still pulls off a mean murder ballad:

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