Back in early 2012, Chris Dick sung the praises of Cormorant’s Dwellings. Since the band’s recently released follow-up is yet another quality entry in its still nascent catalog, we asked Nick Cohon to tell us about some of the “darker country music” that he listens to (the guitarist is also rocking a Gov’t Mule Dose shirt above, which, while neither dark nor country, must be mentioned). As he explains, “I chose these songs for their general impact on my musical world. Even though they aren’t metal, they’re incredibly heavy and hold a certain significance and power. These types of songs transcend genres and geography and tap into life’s core feelings. Enjoy!” Not surprisingly, that penultimate sentence goes a long way towards describing Cormorant’s music.
Check out Earth Diver–which the band once again released on its own–below and pick up a copy here.
Neil Young’s “Danger Bird” (from 1997’s Year Of The Horse)
Neil is my all-time favorite artist, and my favorite songs of his change day to day. Every album showcases a different side of the human experience. Today, his live release Year of the Horse is the album on repeat in my brain, and “Danger Bird” is the song.
Doc Watson’s “St. James Hospital” (from 1964’s Doc Watson)
Doc’s music is very grounding for me. This song is one of his darker, more modal sounding tunes that showcases a different side of his talents. Another favorite is the song “Twin Sisters” off the Down South album.
John Prine’s “The Late John Garfield Blues” (from 2010’s In Person & On Stage)
I’m not a lyrical-minded listener, so when a line manages to catch my ear, it really hits me. One of my favorite lines is, “An old man sleeps with his conscience at night, young kids sleep with their dreams. While the mentally ill sit perfectly still, and live through life’s in-betweens.” John can weave words with a simple melody so well, bringing the special to the ordinary.
Willie Nelson’s “‘Til I Gain Control Again” (from 1983’s Take It To The Limit)
Willie’s music strikes a central nerve in me. With many timeless songs to choose from, the line and melody, “Just like a lighthouse you must stand alone and mark the sailors journey’s end” from the Willie and Waylon album Take It to the Limit is one I hum over and over again.
Drive-By Truckers’ “Danko/Manuel” (from 2004’s The Dirty South)
Jason Isbell had a string of great albums as a brief member of this band. The album The Dirty South is full of unique songs that transport me to another place, making the Southern experience seem tangible and real from afar. The vocal melody, the eerie, reverb-drenched guitar tones and the funky, in-the-pocket drumming make this a great song to me.
Levon Helm’s “The Mountain” (from 2007’s Dirt Farmer)
This is a cover of Steve Earle’s “The Mountain” from the bluegrass album that Earle did with Del McCoury Band. I especially like this version; Levon was singing his balls off, as always.
Emmylou Harris’s “Red Dirt Girl” (from 2000’s Red Dirt Girl)
Emmylou is known for her stunning and heartbreaking songs. I’ve heard her voice since I was a kid, as her records were fixtures in our house. I love how her voice sounds frail and thin, barely grasping for the high notes, then dropping lower and filling with resonance and confidence. It’s easy to get lost in her stories.
Sun Kil Moon’s “Carry Me Ohio” (from 2003’s Ghosts Of The Great Highway)
When I was working away from friends and family, the music on my iPod was familiar and reassuring. I stumbled across this album one day while driving a 60′ boom lift in a Midwestern ice storm at night. Something about Mark Kozelek’s voice, reminiscent of Neil Young, is very haunting and emotive.
Guy Clark’s “Somedays You Write the Song” (from 2009’s Somedays The Song Writes You)
Guy Clark is such a great wordsmith and storyteller. His songs hold so much wisdom and depth. This one says it all.
Nanci Griffith’s “Late Night Grande Hotel” (from 1991’s Late Night Grande Hotel)
This song has a ridiculously good chorus that is melodically catchy. It’s the feeling of everything coming together after a long journey; the feeling of right. I hear it and am reminded to be thankful for what I have in my life.
*Pick up a copy of Earth Diver here.
**Past Decibrity entries include:
Eyehategod (Part 1) (Part 2)
Junius (Part 1) (Part 2)
East Of The Wall
Drugs Of Faith
SubRosa (Part 1) (Part 2)
God Is An Astronaut
Scale The Summit
Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Mouth Of The Architect
Call of the Void
Saint Vitus Bar
Soilwork (Dirk Verbeuren) (Björn Strid)
Ancestors (Part 1) (Part 2)
Kowloon Walled City (Part 1) (Part 2)
Aaron Stainthorpe (My Dying Bride) (Part 1) (Part 2)
All That Remains
A Life Once Lost
Witchcraft (Ola Henriksson) (Magnus Pelander)
Vision of Disorder
Anders Nyström (Katatonia) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Rush (Part 1) (Part 2)
Greg Mackintosh (Paradise Lost) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Meshuggah
Shane Embury (Napalm Death) (Part 1) (Part 2)