Listening to Melissa Carper's new album Daddy's Country Gold (out March 19) is like stepping into an American Legion on honky tonk night. The plucky, sweet-as-cherry-pie love song "Old Fashioned Gal" conjures up images of couples twirling on a scuffed dance floor, while the yearning "Back When" is a neon-lit heartbreaker for lonely folks sitting in a dark corner, nursing a longneck.
Daddy's Country Gold is more than an homage to classic country; it's a living, breathing, tear-soaked collection of future jukebox classics.
Carper, a founding member of The Carper Family and member of Arkansas four-piece Sad Daddy and roots duo Buffalo Gals, earned the nickname "Daddy" from her bandmates for her ability to "take care of 'bidness'."
But Carper says no song has had a greater impact on her than Hank Williams' timeless "Ramblin' Man."
"It's hard to just pick just one country song that inspired and shaped me. I sure did love Hank Williams when I was little and I listened to him over and over on the family record player," Carper tells Wide Open Country. "I related to his sad love songs as I experienced unrequited love for the first time at the ripe old age of 8 or 9. It was hard then and always has been. 'Ramblin' Man' is the story of my life; I have a wild streak and can't seem to ever settle down anywhere for long. I remember singing that song busking in my early 20's and trying to throw those high notes across the street to get people's attention. There is such a longing in his voice, just one long note seemed to possess so much pain. 'Ramblin' Man' sure is lonesome and --'if I didn't go, I believe I'd blow my stack' -- I feel that way when it's time for me to get away by myself and go on a road trip, or when it's time to move to another town. I always have kept that song in my repertoire and sometimes when I sing it, it feels spooky, like Hank's there."
Daddy's Country Gold was co-produced by Dennis Crouch (The Time Jumpers) and Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes, Hurray for the Riff Raff).
The album is available for purchase here.