10 essential gothic country songs

About the list: The songs on the list are very different from each other. The common denominator is that they are all central and key elements in the understanding of the "gothic country" genre. Of course, there's much to understand. Probably too much.



 Cover Song/Album Artist





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The Trickster / Trinity




Sons of Perdition

This song really incorporates all the necessary attributes and that’s why it’s placed as number one. A gruesome story, elevated music and elaborate lyrics. The vocals are beautiful (especially the choirs). All of this packaged in a Steely Dan-like production.





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The World is Evil / Satan is Watching




Those Poor Bastards

A different mood. Those Poor Bastards play extreme and hard "gothic country”. It doesn’t get any harder. In this song they push the border a little bit further. “Satan is watching as you walk down the road / Satan is watching as you sleep”.





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Vengeance Gonna Be My Name / El Santo Grial: La Pistola Piadosa  




Slackeye Slim

Another mood with obvious mexican-american-western influences. The song is from his most critically-acclaimed album. A truly talented artist. Warning: about 2,48 and 3,52 minutes into the song Slackeye Slim goes beserk.





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 Red / Built with Bones




 Christian Williams

Yet another gothic mood. This artist works with small but yet effective means of expression. In just three verses things go from bad to worse. The song is from ”Built with Bones”, the Holy Grail of all ”gothic country” albums.





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Sinnerman / Folklore




16 Horsepower

You could pick a dozen songs from 16 Horsepower (the mother of almost all "gothic country" bands), but this is a Nina Simone cover. In the song David Eugene Edwards demonstrates his unique brilliance and sensitiveness to moods.





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Whistling Girl / Mosaic





David Eugene Edwards embarked on a new path after 16 HP. You can still pick almost any song depending on the day. “Inside the home the folk pine grow / Where hearts are fire sparks are thrown / Is all that glitters / This terrible weakness”.




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 Goose Walking Over My Grave / Munly & the Lee Lewis Harlots 





Munly & the Lee Lewis Harlots

A quite awful murder ballad told in six verses. "She said ‘punch me in the stomach’ I said girl I do not know / if I punch you in the stomach that our child inside will not grow / She said ‘if you truly love me you’ll do this thing for me”. It gets even worse.





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Damnation Way / Chasing Locusts





Veni, vidi, vici. Stawfoot came, delivered and disappeared. But their songs live on, especially this one. “The wicked man gets a wicked wrath / the sinners always pay / left to walk that wicked path / called damnation way”.




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Far From Any Road / Singing Bones




The Handsome Family

"Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong" noted Oscar Wilde. The song was great already in 2003, long before The True Detective. The TV series made the song known to a wider audience. Now I have to share it with the masses.




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When Jesus Comes / Ballads and Mental Breakdowns




 Uncle Sinner

This is a odd song with sampled "spoken word" and consists of a sermon where the aim seems to be to recruit members from a rival church. The samples comes from a record found in a thrift store in Steinbach, a small Mennonite town in Canada.



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