2006-10-16 : Music blogging: Dog songs 4

The newest band I'm into is Crooked Still. Both the newest band, I think - the one that's existed for the shortest time - and the one I'm most recently into. Maybe the band with the youngest memebers, too, come to think of it. They're a bluegrass band from Boston.

I've seen them billed around here (at Grace Chapel in Deerfield, I think; maybe somewhere else too), but I haven't gone to see them yet. Consequently I can't tell you anything about them as performers. I can tell you, however, that their lead singer's name is Aoife, which I don't have the first idea how to pronounce, but she sounds like Alison Krauss only wonderfully non-pristine; and that their cellist's name is Rushad, which more bluegrass bands really ought to have cellists named Rushad.

Here's the song that hooked me: "Orphan Girl." Here's another good Dog song: "Darling Corey." Those are both from their first album, Hop High. I'm off to order their second album right now.

As always, if you like the songs, buy the album. If you represent Crooked Still and you'd like me to take down the mp3s, email me and I certainly will.

1. On 2006-10-16, Matt S said:

What the heck—here's another recommendation from out in left field. Here's one I ran into blind while trying to find some of those Kelly Joe Phelps CDs at Best Buy. Turns out they've got some pretty interestng tunes, and I get the sense they're up-and-comers. Who knows:

Old Crow Medicine Show

I mean, the name alone!


2. On 2006-10-16, Matt S said:

Oh yeah. Orphan Girl? You just figured out part of Mrs. Snyder's X-mas present.


3. On 2006-10-16, Vincent said:

4. On 2006-10-16, MikeRM said:

The pronunciation of Aoife's name is given on her page on their site.


5. On 2006-10-17, Jonathan Walton said:

Crooked Still is currently the best bluegrass band in the world.  Also, they're playing Somerville Theater on Nov 3 and it's the end of their tour.  Should be a big bash.  You guys should totally come.


6. On 2006-10-17, Alex Fradera said:

Daniel IceCream Emperor mentioned Townes Van Zandt in an early musicblogging thread, and I just discovered you can legally get hold of a bunch of his stuff for free - here .

(Sadly unavailable there is Mr Mudd & Mr Gold, the ultimate poker-hands-leading-to-real-life-resolution song.)

Again too modern, but forming my early Dogs soundtracks, Dolorean are a band I really dig. You can listen to segments of tracks from emusic (my downloader of choice - so cheap); Tracks 5,6 and 8 from Violence in the Snowy Fields fit pretty well. here


7. On 2006-10-17, Kip Manley said:

"Darling Corey." Shit, man. I'd totally forgotten about the Blood Oranges. Chas, you still have that tape somewhere?


8. On 2006-10-17, Vincent said:

I dig Old Crow Medicine Show, by the way. I've been hearing them on the radio. I'm teaching myself harmonica and they're inspiring.


9. On 2006-10-17, Jason M said:

It's probably dumb to even mention it, but "Orphan Girl" is a Gillian Welch/David Rawlings cover.  They do a lot of Dogs-worthy stuff themselves - I wrote a whole town around "Caleb Meyer".

I'm enjoying learning about new artists, Vincent.


10. On 2006-10-17, Vincent said:

Nope, I had no idea "Orphan Girl" was by Gillian Welch. I assumed it was traditional. Cool!

My collection is Gillian Welch deficient, I'm learning.


11. On 2006-10-17, Twila said:

Oh yeah.  "Orphan Girl" is definitely a Gillian Welch song.

I have three bands to recommend, Dogs-wise.

First off, there's the Blood Oranges, as mentioned above. They've broken up, but they are soo good. My fave of theirs is a really great
version of "Shady Grove".  It's even period!

Secondly, there's Cordelia's Dad.  The main male singer of that, Tim Eriksen, is very into traditional singing, including shape note—he was part of the choir in "Cold Creek Mountain", and does a lot of research before committing to a song. They have two styles—traditional and balls-out rock.  You have to be careful with which album you're listening to, but the trad stuff.... man oh man. Their "Katy Cruel" and "Gypsy Davy"  (from "Comet") are the best I have ever heard.  And "New Bedford" just sounds so Doggish!  Give
'em a listen.  Their website is: (I don't know how you add links on this site, so if you want to do that, please do!).  I recommend them highly.

Thirdly,  well, there's Julie and Buddy Miller.  Julie has this waifish voice that just nails me every time, and her husband is a good singer, too—togehter they are a big act, usually on the road with Gillian Welch and other folks.  Mmmmm.  Julie writes songs and ... damn.  "I Call on You", "By Way of Sorrow", and "Forever My Beloved" just scream DOGS... or at least 1800s gospel to me.  Give her a listen, if you haven't already.  She is sooo good.


12. On 2006-10-17, Vincent said:

I was just looking at East Side Digital, the Blood Oranges' purported label, and no sign of them. How do I get their music, any suggestions?

I'm going to write about Cordelia's Dad next, I think; they're a long-time local favorite. They get to bridge between Dog songs and Rock n Reel, and then I'll write about Boiled in Lead, which I'm looking forward to. Meanwhile here's their website, linked.

I'll check out Julie and Buddy Miller next.

Cool, Twila!


13. On 2006-10-17, Ben Lehman said:

Gillian Welch is great.  She's singing "one more dollar" on my drifter's soundtrack.


14. On 2006-10-17, Twila said:


Glad you're liking my recommendations.  I'm slowly filling in my ideal Dogs playlist, which may end up informing my NanoWriMo novel this year.  I'm envisioning a society which has gone to the stars after having Dogs be a real force in the past. I have no idea though how that's gonna turn out, but I'm looking forward to finding out! (At least it won't be just another generic space opera.) Hope you don't mind me taking your wonderful game and using it as a springboard....

Insofar as Blood Oranges go, I found there were a few CDs on Amazon for not too much cash, if you can stand doing business with 'em. Otherwise, my friend Ken of the more than 3000 CDs has lots of sources for out of print music that he'd gladly share with us, if I ask.  He's my original source for Blood Oranges, Oysterband, and Cordelia's Dad anyway.  Good guy to ask if you want to track down nearly anything.

I'm so jealous of you having Cordelia's Dad as a local band. I only ever saw 'em once, early 90s, I think it was, and I didn't own a CD player, and I was poorer than church mice, so I never did get a tape, even. Ah well. They were really wonderful then.

I heard "By Way of Sorrow" on the Cry, Cry, Cry (Dar Williams, Richard Shindell, and Lucy Kaplansky collaboration) album, and just had to track down the original. I've been a big fan of Julie Miller ever since. She's this teeny waif of a woman, just a wisp, and she sings like a fallen angel.


15. On 2006-10-17, Vincent said:

I shouldn't deceive you - I haven't seen Cordelia's Dad live at all. I've just had friends who followed them closely, I used to work with a woman who sang with Tim Erikson all the time, and I get to feel some ownership and regional pride.

I'm happy to hear that they're local to me again. Maybe I'll finally get to see them; their website says they'll be touring around here all spring.


16. On 2006-10-18, Twila said:

Oh you really should hear them live, they're fun (Cordelia's Dad, that is...)—though if they're doing a rocking show, ow! They get LOUD!
I'm such an old lady nowadays that this makes me crazy—plus, I don't really like speaker reverb.

Boiled in Lead, mmmm. I have nearly everything they've done. I think. I don't have their huge "Alloy" compilation with lots of B-sides and alternates, but I have the commercially available one.

Thank you, by the way, for pointing me to some old favorites and to some getting-to-be-new-ones.  This has been a really fun set of posts for me, because I can actually discuss music, whereas I'm not really a game designer—I like to collect games, and I read the theory avidly, but I don't have any ambitions to design a game myself, so I don't usually get to post in the other entries.


17. On 2006-10-18, Meguey said:

Pentangle and
Steeleye Span
I don't know what your plan is, but this thread made me think of them.


18. On 2006-10-18, Twila said:

Oh lord yes... and Fairport Convention/Richard Thompson/Martin Carthy/John Tams, if you're going thataways.

Do not get me into the whole Child ballad thing—oh! My goodness! I just thought of something that might be very Dogs-ish, and is just so cool. It's called "King Orfeo" and the original version I have is sung by Frankie Armstrong, and it's a retelling of the Orpheus legend, more or less, set in the ballad world. (I don't know if it's supposed to be England, Scotland, or the Applachians, exactly, except that Frankie Armstrong is British... and I thought a lot older than she apparently is—see her page here.)
Anyhow... just thought I'd toss that out! Because it gave me such a jolt to hear it.


19. On 2006-10-19, Justice said:

(My for real, actual first name)

I thought I'd de-lurk for a minute to thank Vincent for his blog and work, which I've found enlightening in any number of ways, and to also offer some stuff that I've not seen mentioned in either these Dog song threads or in the threads on the Forge.

I've managed to find one rule that works for me in getting Dogs songs-any prewar artist named "Blind" anything almost certainly has a passel of songs full of blood, fire, death, sin, trouble, knives, prison & magic.  Short list (and the merest scratch of the surface): Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Alfred Reed, Blind Willie McTell, Blind Willie Johnson, Blind Roosevelt Graves, the early Blind Boys of Alabama/Mississippi (although this stretches "prewar" a bit).

Also, the Anthology of American Folk Music & the American Primitive series seem to me like they could be promotional mixtapes for the game.

This all seems so natural & right to me that I gotta ask-is all this stuff just way too old hat?  Is it just that country blues, country gospel, and old-time topical country doesn't hit the creative switches most people are using when thinking Dogs?  Does it all seem too specific and localized (i.e. Southern USA, 1920's-30's?) to really resonate?

No judgment intended there, by the way-I've certainly found some fine music out these threads and the Forge threads-really just a curiousity on my part.


20. On 2006-10-19, Twila said:

Well, as you can probably guess from my earlier posts, Justice,  I'm really into traditional ballads and British folk, much more so than anything American, per se.  I grew up listening to what passed for "country" in the 1960s, and I don't like it.  I also don't do blues or jazz or most classical, because what matters to me are the words. The words and the singer are all-in-all to me, and I don't like extended instrumental bits in my song-listening.  And if the song tells a story, as most (all?) ballads do, then I am in heaven.  I've softened on gospel songs, a bit, in my old age, but I am definitely a British Isles rather than American kind of folkie.


21. On 2006-10-20, Justice said:

Hey, Twila, neat post.  I didn't ask to be a blues & old-timey troll, and so I'm happy to hear about the stuff that really is resonant in British folk and related for you.  So, if you want, I'd follow up and ask how they drive the way you think through the Dogs stuff, if that's your thing.  So thanks (although I am more than happy to fight about the assertion that Merle Haggard's best work is "what passed for 'country'").

For all folkies, then, from the New York Times: Actual antecedent for John Henry found:


22. On 2006-10-27, watermelontail said:

I've seen them twice at Falcon Ridge folk festival, and, really, no one else there.  I think the pronunciation for Aoife's name is "EE fa" but I could be wrong on that.


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