Zoe Muth and The Lost High Rollers Don’t Want A New Love Unless It’s Going To Be A True Love

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

~ Oscar Wilde

Billy Joe Shaver wrote his men clumsy and intent on leaving their women quick. They are wishful lumps of coal losing hard earned dollars in foolish bar room antics. They are rail-yard poets and bums who lie on Jimmie Rodgers’ boxcars while looking at the stars and dreaming their misbegotten dreams. Dwight Yoakam, who cries hard like diamonds, wrote the other side of the masculine as seen through thick bottom glass, and hard heeled boots– a pure glittering definition of Urban Cowboy. Both men write songs that are filled with women: honkytonk angels, sad wives, girls with no names, roses and thorns. They are muscular songs approaching the mysteries of the heart sideways; they are bleary and liquor fueled ballads searching for a truth found no other way. I connect with them so deeply I don’t think about other people’s perspectives when I hear them. I usually don’t.

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.


About Iaan Hughes

Iaan Hughes is a deejay on 91.3 KBCS in Seattle. He plays country & western music.
This entry was posted in Country, Folk, Honky Tonk, Music, Pop, Radio, Rock, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Zoe Muth and The Lost High Rollers Don’t Want A New Love Unless It’s Going To Be A True Love

  1. Chris says:

    Got this disc today, and I was thinking about what you’d written. I recall when I was about 25, hearing a song by Highway 101 on the radio and suddenly realizing I was the jerk Paulette Carlson was singing about! Until then, I always thought I was the man done wrong in the Haggard song, or at best, the man regretfully moving on in the Waylon song. It was an eye-opener, and a pretty unpleasant one, to look at myself from somebody else’s point of view. Probably made me a little bit less of a jerk, though.

    • iaanhughes says:

      Yes, I like that – less of a jerk – I think that should be my life’s goal. I haven’t heard anyone name check Highway 101 in forever! Made me blow the dust off of their old self titled record tonight.

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