The Anguished Country Music Playlist

When I wrote about killing off beloved characters in my novels, I explained that to put myself in the right frame of mind, “I turn on the most anguishing country music I can find, so that I’m in the mood to really rip readers’ guts out.”

In response, Kate asked: “What songs are on your ‘anguished country’ playlist?”

Here are some of them. Listen, and rend your clothing. And maybe drive your pickup truck down to the railroad tracks to mourn your dog.

The Anguished Country Music Playlist:

“Sorrowful Angels,” Patty Loveless
“God’s Gonna Cut You Down,” Johnny Cash
“The Heart of the Matter,” Don Henley (Okay, so this isn’t technically country. It still stabs me in the heart. When I was writing the final chapter of China Lake, I listened to this over and over.)
“I Can’t Make You Love Me,” Bonnie Raitt
“You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive,” Patty Loveless

“Whiskey Lullaby,” Alison Krauss and Brad Paisley. This song was introduced to me by Kate herself as “the saddest song ever written.” Yeah. Thanks for nearly making me drive into a ditch. Though it also has the best opening line ever written: “She put him out, like the burning end of a midnight cigarette.” Oh, burn. And weep.

11 responses to “The Anguished Country Music Playlist

  1. Townes van Zandt – “Waitin’ Around to Die”

  2. One of my favorite songs: Guy Clark’s Dublin Blues.

  3. I beieve this to be one of the most elegiac and moving songs:

  4. Deborah Schneider

    another Allison Krauss: Ghost in This House,
    and the original version of Down So Low by Tracy Nelson and Mother Earth:

  5. Meg, try Where Time Stands Still by Mary Chapin Carpenter. And if that one leaves you feeling too cheery, there’s always Chiseled In Stone by Vern Gosdin. Or, my God, Ships That Don’t Come In by Joe Diffie…I’ve either got to stop or go find my straight razor!

  6. Early Johnny Paycheck – Pardon Me I’ve Got Someone To Kill

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