Soundtracks Part IV

November 13th, 2014Posted by Nancy

Cold Hillside turned out to be like neither A Terrible Beauty nor Blood & Chrysanthemums when it comes to the music I associated with writing it. While it didn’t have either artists or songs that connected directly to the content, I had an ITunes playlist called “Cold Hillside”, which is certainly more than I would necessarily been able to muster for B&C.  At some point I seem to have erased the playlist so I’m working from memory of what was on it.

Because the writing of this novel took such a long time, my musical tastes changed and expanded, and albums in high rotation on the ipod came and went. During the periods when I was tentatively poking at writing, or distressed over the fact that I wasn’t writing, or trying to determine if I would ever write again, I took comfort from the music of a number of singer-songwriters who tend to be associated with country or folk so the playlist was dominated by woman like Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris and Gillian Welch.  Very little that they wrote had a direct bearing on the novel itself, but it answered some emotional need I had while writing.

Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “Come On, Come On” album is one of my all-time favorites and this song is pure poetry.

This song by Lucinda Williams is one of the rawest evocations of addictive sexual and emotional need I’ve ever heard.

It’s hard to pick a single song from Emmylou but this one, from her album “Red Dirt Girl”, does have an emotional connection to the novel.

And, because we’re now watching the publishing world slide into the transitional chaos that has mired the music world, and I know writers who make pennies while their work gets posted on sharing sites without their consent, here’s a song from Gillian Welch. Sadly, she’s right: “we’re going to do it anyway, even if it doesn’t pay”.

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