Before Mark Steven Johnson ruined the Ghost Rider franchise, it was a beloved dark fantasy/gothic country themed story. And like all stories, it inspired quite a number of country songs.
While the teenagers and Middle-aged adults might have polarising opinions about country music; as a young adult, I think country music is at least worth a try.
Dark fantasy music might not be everybody’s aesthetic, but you would never know how you feel about it unless you try it.
So, here are 7 gothic country songs that will have you swaying to the music.
1. The Builders and the Butchers – Bringing home the rain (2007)
This group based in Portland, Oregon started making music in 2005. While most of their critically acclaimed work and the most underrated music was from “Dead Reckoning” (2011) and “Western Medicine” (2013), but this song from their 2007 self-titled album is the one to make to this list. The song dwells in hypnotic lyrics about a drowning in past life with a classic country sound.
2. Gillian Welch – Annabelle (1996)
Gillian Welch was still a student at the Berkeley when she first met her performing group. Annabelle was the first track on her first album – “Revival”. With a mid-tempo and a consistent strum pattern surrounding the idea of death and childbearing – this Alternative country track by the Tennessee-based singer is a must on this list.
3. The Steeldrivers – If It Hadn’t Been For Love (2006)
Yet another country group from Tennessee, This Grammy-winning band is mesmerising. While there is a lot of music by The Steeldrivers that’s worthy of your attention, this country track with a slow moving down-tempo and sway-able lyrics is a good place to introduce yourself. The track is a solo from 2006 and is probably the reason the band gathered so much attention in country music.
4. Highlonesome – Devil At The Door (2009)
This folk track from the folk album “In Life We Can’t Be Free” (2009) is probably their best work. The Wisconsin group recently has brought some rock n’ roll influences in too, but their purely folk music has been very well received. With the extensive use of Banjo, the song sounds similar to the miner’s songs; and its catchy tune only makes it worse.
5. Angry Johnny & The Killbillies – High noon In Killsville (1998)
This band from Western Massachusetts is true to the roots country act. This song about a robbery of a general store gone wrong is has turned onto an iconic sound of the band. The grunge-like vocals and lyric-centric music style are strangely entangling. While I’d suggest the entire album “What’s so Funny?” (1998), this track on the record is a special mention.
6. The Hackensaw Boys – Gypsy (2002)
This country band from Virginia was formed in 1999. While their fan base is mostly attracted to them because of their creative use of the double bass and the Banjo on their records like “Get some”(2000) and “Look Out!” (2007); this particular song from “Keep it simple” (2002) made it to this list for its storytelling element. With a humming tune and a few chords on a guitar, the song narrates a tale of unrequited love of a country boy. The overtone of impending violence makes the bluegrass track even more interesting.
7. Uncle Sinner – Poor Pilgrim of Sorrow (2008)
The coarse sound of vocals will open the song with a gothic style. The Canadian country singer has seen major fame from his 2008 album titled “Ballads and Mental Breakdowns”. Though tracks like “When Jesus Comes” (2008) and “The Cuckoo” (2008) are more popular, it’s this beat-down Banjo track that makes it to this list. Uncle Sinner’s vocal range and catchy banjo and drums make this song about a melancholic state of mind on the road unique on a predominantly blues record.
Now, if it won’t be your ringtone, I would understand that; but I’m sure that you’d be listening to at least one of these records while driving on the Highway. The Dark themes and enticing vocals are sure to intrigue you.