Sounds Like: Lyric-driven, hardscrabble country for the Flannery O’Connor set
For Fans of: Lydia Loveless, Sunny Sweeney, Jason Isbell
Why You Should Pay Attention: The title of O’Connor’s classic short story “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” has always sounded like a country song, so it’s no surprise that Southern songwriters consider the author to be an artistic inspiration. Ramey – a deputy district attorney in Montgomery, Alabama, before she became a singer – counts her as an influence and incorporates many of the author’s hallmarks into her own work. Thoughtfully sketched characters, biblical references and the grotesque abound on Ramey’s latest album Snake Handler, a combination made all the more affecting when coupled with Ramey’s emotive voice and raw, rough-and-tumble arrangements.
She Says: “I have to really be moved by a song for it to hold my attention. I’m not satisfied just being entertained by a song, I want it to pick me up and carry me somewhere else. I want it to change me forever. I tend to draw pretty heavily from my own experiences in my writing or from those close to me. The things that I experienced and to which I was exposed growing up tend to be straight out of either an outlaw country song or a Flannery O’Connor story. It’s easier to paint the picture when it’s something you have actually lived.”
Hear for Yourself: “Devil’s Blood” is a first-rate story-song about trying (and failing) to outrun temptation and bad behavior. B.M.