What exactly do you need most in a down and lonesome song? Sympathy? Pity? Hearing someone who actually seems to feel worse than you? Everybody has a different idea of what a lonesome song should sound like, what are your criteria? Here are just a few tracks from the many, many that country music (not to mention the, um, blues) has to offer.
Many folks have cried over Poor Old Heartsick Me including, most notably, June Carter Cash. My favorite version, though, is by The Knitters. (If you remember Poor Little Critter In The Road, then you’ve heard their sly, raucous version of country music before.) They were the cowpunk version of the old school punk band, X.
Lead singer Exene Cervenka sings that kind of heartsick song that is catchy and almost even upbeat. When she sings that she’s twice as lonesome as a girl oughta be, you know exactly how she feels. And, though you may not feel better by the end of the song, you’re at least singing along and may have gotten off the couch to at least get a cold drink.
When Roseanne Cash has her Seven Year Ache, whether yours is a three month ache or a forty-seven year old one, you understand. You act like you were just born tonight, face down in a memory but feeling alright….Tell them you’re trying to cure a seven year ache, see what else your old heart can take. This is one of my I can take anything life throws at me songs.
Texan Freddy Fender was known for his classic When The Next Teardrop Falls. With a career spanning nearly half a century, poor old Freddy was lonesome in two languages at once. You knew, though, that if you ever needed him, he’d be there before the next teardrop falls. (Y estare contigo cuando triste estas)
Hayes Carll sounds like a man almost ready to move on in Hide Me when he says I’m gonna leave these blues behind, For some other fool to find, He won’t care and I won’t mind.
Which finally brings us to The Last Word In Lonesome Is Me. Whether you prefer Eddy Arnold, Roger Miller or any of the many folks who’ve pined for true love in this song, it’s a classic. When you just can’t get yourself up off the couch, put your feet up and feel sorry for yourself with this one. But, remember, no drunk dialing!