Release Date: 09.09.03
Record label: Dualtone (Red)
Genre(s): Trance, Big Beat, Ambient, House, Trip-Hop, etc.
Leaving on Top
by: jonathan baran
Every time I see that damn Ford Truck commercial with Toby Keith I always have the urge to show Mr. Keith exactly where I’d like to place my boot. Somewhere between Nashville and Branson, Missouri country music turned into fluffy adult pop with no teeth but plenty of twang, and seeing these new cowboy hat sporting wannabe’s makes me want to swear off everything Southern.
But if you ever need to have your faith in country music reaffirmed all you need to do is throw on anything “Cash” and you’ll be driving to Dixie before you can say “Waffle House”. Much like her husband Johnny, June made country music in its truest sense; it is folk music about the simple country life and the people who live it. But make no mistake about it; although this album may have its eyes on the rearview mirror it is certainly pushing country music into bold new territories.
For her goodbye to the world June leaves a true country masterpiece; a retrospective of what the music was, and what it hopefully again can be. In between the old Carter Family favorites and June originals we, the listener, are granted a tour of this amazing women’s life. Stand out tracks like “Big Yellow Peaches” and “Kneeling Drunkard’s Plea” feel like pieces directly out of the Carter family scrapbook with touching but often hilarious introductions using old Carter family clips.
But by far the best track off the CD is “The Road to Kaintuck”, featuring a duet between husband and wife Cash. In it June and Johnny tell a frontier story that would be folksy enough to come straight out of an old Disney Daniel Boone movie if it weren’t for the bittersweet despair lurking behind their voices.
And that is exactly what makes the entire album great. Recorded with the acknowledgement of impeding death, June uses country music to do exactly what it was invented for, to tell a damn good story. While most modern country makes you wish the U.S. Government would just ship off everything south of the Dixie line to the Middle East in hopes that they could use it to rebuild Iraq, Wildwood Flower actually makes you yearn to be part of a rugged frontier in “ol’ Kaintuck”.
The genre of Alternative-Country is always good for a few folk tinged indie rock songs, but hopefully some one will be able to pick up where the Cash’s left off and start making some real American country music. But if not at least there will always be Wildwood Flower. 10-Dec-2003 2:30 PM