Molly Hamilton and Robert Earl Thomas, aka Widowspeak, released their eponymous debut album in 2011, drawing on a range of influences from 1950s pop to 1970s psych. For their second album, ‘Almanac’ (out now via Captured Tracks), the pair delved further into North and South American music of yesteryear, pulling them together and arranging them into something that makes sense in 2013.
We asked Earl Thomas to put together a playlist for us. This is what he said about his choices: “This playlist gathers songs that influenced the writing and recording of our album ‘Almanac’, along with some of Molly and my personal favourites. We’ve definitely been drawn to the American west and southwest recently and it’s ushered in an infatuation with fingerpicking, slide guitars and cowboy vocals. There are influences from other parts of the world as well, but they serve to augment and update our sense of Americana”.
Click here to listen to the playlist on Spotify, and then read on to find out more about Robert’s choices:
01 Neil Young – Old Man
All of ‘Harvest’ has been a significant influence on us. I could’ve picked any track really, but this one has a lovely slide part.
02 Sons Of The Pioneers – Cool Water
This is the epitome of ‘cowboy choir’ vocals, which impart such a perfect feeling of the open West.
03 Caetano e Chico – Partido Alto
What a great revolving groove and vocal delivery. It’s kind of like a South American ‘Season Of The Witch’.
04 Tom Petty – Breakdown
This song has such a slinky cool and Tom Petty has such a backwoods charm to him.
05 Hallelujah Chicken Run Band – Mudzimu Ndiringe
This song is great for the morning. It’s the same thing over and over but it seems to grow and multiply.
06 The Flying Burrito Brothers – Christine’s Tune
Gram Parsons and The Flying Burrito Brothers made country music for a new audience and their recordings have endured as a strange meeting between cowboy and hippie.
07 Santo & Johnny – Sleepwalk
This is an iconic song that imparts a beautiful, sentimental feeling. It’s also so slippery!
08 The Carter Family – I Never Will Marry
Early Carter Family is the best, Maybelle kills it. While there are plenty of good examples, this one just always stands out to us as the best.
09 Michael Hurley – The Time Is Right
A simple, endearing duet.
10 The Eagles – Hotel California
Yes it’s kinda cheesy and The Eagles did a lot of bad, but there’s something undeniable about this epic.