We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
~ Oscar Wilde
All that to say Zoe Muth’s songs make me squirm. They are songs of love, as all great songs are, and I live in love songs. They are country songs and I live in country songs. They are also completely feminine, and because of that, and that they are love songs and country songs, it all ends up feeling like sitting in your own home while dreaming; it’s your home, but it’s not. The red kettle is on the black stove, but on the wrong burner.
The second album from Muth and the Lost High Rollers does not disappoint. She has a knack for writing the seemingly familiar but new melody which, like her first album, gives the record a comfortable accessibility. The lyrics are love and theft from one hundred sources and wholly original. I would almost say Jungian, perhaps – songs from our untapped and ignored psyches.
What’s also familiar is how deeply I connect with these songs. As much as any Billy Joe or Dwight song, except she’s not so much singing with as she is about. Listening to the album I’m reminded of Lefty Frizzell’s warning to stay away from mirrors. The only other songwriter I’ll cite as comparison is Mary Gauthier. Not so much in themes or styles, but in how they stare straight and speak true.
Muth is joined once again by The Lost High Rollers. They fit her well. No one tries to do more than what each song requires and in a world of overproduced, overplayed music, musicians should take note. Records like “Starlight Hotel” are strange; they don’t go platinum or burn up the pop and country charts. That’s as much a problem of access and connectivity rather than a commentary on the music being made, though. These songs could be hits. I don’t think about how they should be. I’d recommend you don’t either.
Buy / hear Zoe’s music and see her tour updates here.