OWI have a very strong suspicion towards people that don't listen to music (in general) and people pretending to listen to music (in particular) and furthermore have bad musical taste when forced to say something. According to extensive empirical evidence and comprehensive statistics, politicians are clearly overrepresented in both groups. It's paradoxial that politicians (who are commonly considered to be driven by empathy, conviction and commitment) lacks all taste when it comes to music. "I like a little bit of this a little bit of that". Under mild pressure to come up with a musical preference, politicians often receives hints and tips from their political advisers. Big mistake, since they also lacks all musical taste. In my opinion, people that are not interested in music lacks a standard emotional setup. I admit that this is very strong words, but sadly it's true. I took me some time to understand that some people are not reachable. For a long time, I thought that this was only a basic information problem. People were misinformed, but given the right information and guidance they eventually would turn up all right. Much older, wiser and chastened I have come to realize that's not the case. One's musical taste may, however, change. This is only natural. To paraphrase the quote "I can tell you how I got from Deep Purple to Howling Wolf in just 25 moves" from "High Fidelity" by Nick Hornby, I'm not ashamed to say "I can tell you how I got from Slade to gothic country in just 25 moves". It was a winding road, believe me. Some important milestones: Black Sabbath, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave and Johnny Cash. I admit that I have a history of wellknown artists and almost "mainstream" listening. But, I think I'm excused when I'm nowadays looking for very obscure and self-released albums in limited editions of 200 from artists and bands that have a short expected (and actual) life. And looking back, hasn't there - more or less - always been a dark streak in the music I've listened (and listen) to? 


skivettikettThere might exist two parallel universes. If I by any chance would wake up in the other universe (the one where I would have very strong economic resources), I would undoubtedly start a record company and become a "gothic country" media mogul. The format would be cd among others. The name of the company would be "Gothic Country Records" (see record label logotype on the left). I would be known for "boldly go where no man has gone before", in exploring the genre's darkest corners and raising the bar for high-risk, not to say, wreckless economic behavior. In an act of megalomania I would even consider to start regular "boy bands" and "girl groups", with young aspirating goths and emos. They would, of course, be short lived. It's the thought that counts. Sooner or later, the economic resources would run out and insolvency would occur. Is this the only and inevitable scenario? I don't think so. Of course, gothic country is an aquired taste and not for everyone. But there should be more people out there, i.e. people that have an obvious risk behavior when it comes to their music taste, but are not (yet) beyond salvation. Take the encouraging example of The Handsome Family. Their song "Far From Any Road" was recently selected as the theme song for HBO's 2014 crime drama True Detective by the show's music director, T-Bone Burnett. The song made them known to a much wider audience. The Handsome Family was perceived as a "new" band with a "new" song. The Handsome Family was formed in 1993 and the song was released on "Singing Bones" in 2003. My conclusion is, given the right custom marketing and the adequate promotion the "gothic country" genre would be significantly better known than it is today. I also think "Gothic Country Records" would be profitable in the long run. What evidence do I have that support this conclusion? None, but I choose to believe.


letthedevilin 509-346Good news from Uncle Sinner. In one of his very rare online appearances (on FB) he announced: "I am booking a week off in August to record my tracks for the next album. I have the songs all picked and arranged, give or take the possibility of whims occurring. Thanks for your patience." Patience is a virtue. And you really need to be equipped with a large dose of patience when waiting for the new album. The date for the release was earlier set to December 2011 as a "firmly arbitrary deadline". However, Uncle Sinner dislikes deadlines and the feeling that he owe people something. Therefore, it will be likely ready when its ready and not before. But, in this context it's only fair to mention that Uncle Sinner actually released a collection with outtakes and rarities, "A Pocketful of Glass Eyes" as a fundraiser in March 2014. It slightly eased the longing for the new album. The tentative album cover is made by Gal Stark Arad-Kabiri. If the album sounds like the album cover then I’m reassured. Uncle Sinner may not have the highest production rate in the "gothic country" genre, but in return 100 percent artistic integrity. And this is a not very common virtue these days.


Lately, I've done some thinking of what drives some people into the "gothic country" industry. I guess the conversation at the Guidance Office went something like this:

Student: I like to pursue my ambition and become a musician in the "gothic country" vein.

Guidance Counselor: First of all, I think it's very positive that you have future plans and a clear aim. However, there's no job security, very low return on investment, irregular income and occasionally travels under very simple conditions. There's also a very hard psycho-social environment with extremely poor working conditions which eventually could lead to severe health problems. This choice will also put a strain on relations with family and friends. The burn-rate (of people) is empirically very high in the industry. I would strongly advise against this and therefore like to suggest some other line of work with more normal working conditions.

Student: OK. Thank you for the information. But, I don't care. I'm going in anyway.

Well, the decision to enter the "gothic country" industry isn't based on any short or long-term economic calculations, work environment considerations or retirement plan evaluations. On the contrary, it defies all logic and reason. But logic and reason is one thing. Dedication is another and probably more important thing. With this perspective on the matter the choice to enter the "gothic country" world isn't conspicious and maybe not even a choice but a calling. Where from is, however, an open question.    




One important aspect of my interest in gothic country, southern gothic, gothic americana, american gothic and dark americana and ...whatever is collecting the albums in a physical form (cd). This may seem to be a bit odd and old-fashioned, but I prefer something tangible and lasting. The last time I changed format was in 1990 when I (literally) ditched all my vinyl and went for cd. I'm not going to change format again (to digital, that is). I'll stick to cd no matter what happens. My preference of format makes it hard for me to (literally) get my hands on the albums in the "gothic country" genre. In several of the articles on this website I have highlighted the problem with the cd format: very small editions released on record labels that often no longer exist (or the re-release is zero) together with the fact that I’m living approximately 5000 km away from the local market. The day of the last album produced in cd format is approaching inevitable. However, it's not entirely frustrating trying to get hard-to-find albums. As a matter of fact, it's very rewarding when your efforts suddenly and unexpectedly pays off. I don't want to reveal any of my searching methods, more than to say that you have to adjust your methods depending on what your looking for. When it comes to cds, I have fortunately (?) been equipped with the patience that withstands a comparison with Job. It's also important to have some luck. But there’s no luck, without endurance and patience.



nemelka oneyearlostatsea No album cover popecrow 


However, the above shown albums have hitherto eluded me ("the four missing albums"). From left to right:

Carl Nemelka Family Photographs - O'Death (2004), cd-r, self-released, number of copies: unknown (at least for me)

One Year Lost At Sea - Reverend Glasseye (2009), cd, self-released, number of copies: 50 or 100 (figures vary)

Podunk - The Monads (2010), cd, self-released, number of copies: unknown (at least for me)

Pope Crow - Spitfire Tumbleweeds (2009), cd, TXMF Records, number of copies: unknown (at least for me)

I have never seen any of the albums for sale new or used in the cd format online (I don't even know how the Podunk album cover looks like, hence the generic cover image above). I will, of course, continue to search and will go through fire and water to get them, but these albums are on the verge of impossible to get. If you against all odds have a copy and want to sell it, please contact me. In any other case, this will probably be "the four missing albums".



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