Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Song Highlight: Lydia Loveless - Wringer

Turning on the local country music radio station is an action fraught with disappointment. Most of what I hear does not feel genuine, almost as if an algorithm was used to generate 4 minute tracks that might appeal to the stereotypical “hard working American.” Throw in something about relaxing by the creek, fishing rod in hand, and drinking a cold beer. Add some objectifying words towards women, and thank God for the USA. Make sure there is some acoustic guitar present and you have a country song fit for the radio.

Fortunately for us, not every country musician is chasing the next big hit and leaving earnestly out of the equation. Whenever singer/songwriter Lydia Loveless puts out new music, you can expect a bevy of emotionally honest songs that came into the world out of necessity, and not simply a need to meet a 2 year album cycle. She released a new album this year, Daughter, which is a follow-up to 2016’s Real. I listened to a lot of music in 2020, and Daughter had my favorite song of the year on it, “Wringer.”

“Wringer” is a jangly guitar-driven song carried by Lydia’s emotive voice. She reflects on a relationship that is falling apart, partly due to unreasonable expectations each participant placed upon one another. All of this is anchored by the evocative imagery of their love putting both of them “through the wringer.” But a careful listen suggests that the song is more interesting than just talking about romantic relationships. The line: “said that you don’t do it for fame, or financial gain. Didn’t you always stick by me through everything?” brings to mind her struggles with Bloodshot Records, who have released most of her albums. They certainly put her through the wringer. Fortunately, she has rid herself of them, releasing Daughter on her own label. Finally, her attention goes to her own aspirations putting a strain on herself: “I want to be a symphony, but I’m just a singer. And all that singing ever does is run me through the wringer.” And while Lydia may doubt her abilities, after releasing a host of excellent albums, it seems like she can do no wrong. By being a singer, she has touched many lives, myself included. 

Make sure to buy Lydia’s music here.


  1. Six years we wait and then two posts in a couple of weeks (?).

    Your description of 'typical country music made for radio' sounds interesting on an academic level; we just don't get that kind of thing in the UK AFAIK. ours is like this if you need it on an app, BBC Sounds and then search folk.

    Looking forward to more from you. I'm enjoying reading it, even if it takes an age to actually look up the tracks...

    1. Thanks a lot for reading. I have wanted to start writing more for a while now, and finally forced myself to do it. My hope is that I can post at least once a month in 2021, but I am not making any promises. It takes me awhile to write anything, even if it is short.

      We have folk music similar to what I heard on BBC Sounds, as you directed. The country music I am speaking of is very much an American thing, deriving itself from blues and American traditional music. In the past twenty years or so, the genre has tried to embrace more pop sensibilities and has become something that I don't enjoy. Mind you, I am referring to the brand of Country music that remains popular and played on the radio. If you want an idea of the sort of music I am speaking of, look up Luke Bryan’s “Huntin’, Fishin’, And Lovin’ Every Day". But I will warn you, it is awful. There are still tons of bands and musicians making music that would fall under the banner of County music that is not terrible, it just does not get radio air time.

      When you say it takes ages to look up the tracks I am talking about, how are you doing it? This post has the song from Youtube embedded at the top. And a link to Lydia’s Bandcamp page at the bottom. Perhaps I should try to like her music on Spotify?

  2. Ha, yeah, it's about me finding time, not your choice of platform.