Although I play bass bank in a punk band, I like a lot of country music. Real country, that is. And lately I’ve tapped into a dark, modern steak of country to draw inspiration for my Southern-centric horror and crime stories.
Just so we’re clear, what modern FM radio calls “country music” I call watered-down pop with twangy guitars. Total crap. I can’t tolerate it.
Genuine country music, exemplified by the likes of Hank Williams, George Jones, Johnny Cash, Willy Nelson, etc., is sadly a dying art form.
However, I’ve become a fan of these folk/country sub-genres called Red Dirt Music and Dark/Gothic Country, which seem to overlap each other, best I can tell. I believe Red Dirt Music gets its name from the color of dirt in Oklahoma and Texas, and it’s described as “country music with an attitude” much like the Outlaw Country associated with Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard (all the greats, in my opinion).
Dark/Gothic Country is much what it sounds like, a modern bent on these styles in which the lyrical content and mood of the song is downbeat, usually sinister, morbid or macabre, often dealing with murder, death, ghosts and other grim fare. It makes for a killer writing score, if you’re a weirdo like me.
Here’s a whole playlist you can explore.
And a couple of favorites I recently found: