4:44 PM EDT, October 8, 2012
People think that because I don't like cover bands that I don't like covers. Not true at all. In fact I love when an artist inserts a great cover into their set. I also love, like in this case, when a great artist takes someone elses' songs and puts their own unique stamp on them.
Seattle's Zoe Muth and The Lost High Rollers are, simply put, one of the best true country acts in the world today. While the majority of "country" artists today are more preoccupied with matching the color of their hat with their boots and doing duets with wannabe pop stars, Zoe Muth and her band of exceptional musicians are busy creating country music the way the gods of country meant and expected it to be. Her voice is as pure as the first snows of winter and her backing band really is made up of absolutely exceptional musicians. She's the closest thing you're going to get to the classic era of Emmlylou Harris and her "Hot Band" without time traveling back to the mid-1970's.
After releasing two full length albums filled with original music Zoe and the boys offered up the Old Gold EP in July. Despite being filled with five covers and only one original this is still one of the best country albums you are going to hear this year. Her take on such classics as John Prine's "Maureen, Maureen", Dock Boggs' "Country Blues" and "Get It While You Can" (of course made famous by Janis Joplin) are honestly some of the best renditions of another artist's material that these ears have ever heard. The one original, "Walking The Line", actually fits right at home with this much older material both in delivery and feeling. Yet despite the vibe that this material was clearly from another era Muth and her band are able to hang a modern day folk/country interpretation on them, breathing new life into material that most have people either forgotten or never heard. It's refreshing yet filled with history all at the same time.
Fans of all the great country artists of the last golden era - the aforementioned Harris, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kistofferson, Billy Joe Shaver, etc. - will love this record. Fans of that pop crap that commercial radio peddles as 'country' should probably give a listen to learn what real country music sounds like.
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