Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Kitty Wells, The Original Honky Tonk Angel

 My WFMU DJ friend, singer & songwriter Laura Cantrell, writes:
She managed to transform those old cheating and heart songs into soul music by resisting the overplay of emotion; her drama remains all pent up in that voice, painfully curtailed, both sentimental and stoic like the country folks who were her rural audience. 
Both Kitty & Laura were born & raised in Nashville, city girls.   Which meant Kitty, like country comedian Minnie Pearl (who attended a Nashville finishing school for women), probably had to push some urban sophistication into the background.  With Laura, it's enough that you know you're in the presence of a Tennessee woman, with all it implies musically.  A quality of Laura's singing that makes you lean toward the bandstand rather than away from it certainly derives from Kitty Wells. In fact, Laura does a wonderful version of this very song.

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