lifeblood: songs: backgrounds: johnny rottentale

lifeblood: songs: backgrounds: johnny rottentale


amy ray quote from 2001: from the daemon records website:

"i have rotten cat named johnny who is the inspiration behind most of my songs about bad boys."

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2014-05-19: amy ray: goodnight tender cd streaming, performing songwriter

"in the 90's, i went out and bought classic country vinyl and fell in love with it," she says. "i pulled out the old field recording lp's my grandma gave me and listened to them with a whole different ear. the sounds of an old woman singing appalachian murder ballads in her kitchen, the chain gangs working the fields, songs from the mountain to the coast reflecting a beauty that was rough and honest. alan lomax became a fixture in my life, and i realized a new perspective on singing and songwriting. i moved up to rural north georgia in 1993, to a town i had gone to church camp in as a kid. the rich appalachian culture and music started seeping into my life and songs. the first song i wrote that came out of all this was a little mountain ditty i recorded for stag, a hanging song called 'johnny rottentail.'"

ray continued to write material in that vein, songs that did not quite fit into the indigo girls catalog, or on a rock or punk album. "goodnight tender" evokes a loving lullaby from a traveler far from home and also happens to name-check her dog, tender; "anyhow" came to her when she watched her dog, chevron grappling with a copperhead snake in the woods ("i was thinking about half a life left"); and "my dog" is a ditty she originally wrote on a bouzouki. "this is a dog-heavy album," she says with a laugh, which should please good ol' boys and girls. there are also traveling songs, songs of lost love and regret, (the tunes "more pills," "broken record" and "time zone") and a couple of gospel numbers, "the gig that matters" and "let the spirit." in fact, her spirituality - ray was a religion and literature major, and always puts those studies to effective use - pervades much of this album, including "hunter's prayer," which was inspired by her flannel-clad neighbors in north georgia and her work with native american causes, along with the meditative "oyster and pearl."


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