For Valentine's Day, we asked three of our favorite local singer-songwriters—Sarah Shook, Phonte Coleman, and Mac McCaughan—to create themed mixtapes. Each tackled a distinct theme related to the most Hallmarked of all holidays.
Shook, a hard-living country badass, took on loneliness. Coleman, the Little Brother alumnus who now croons at the helm of The Foreign Exchange, accepted lust. And McCaughan, the perpetually energized co-founder of Superchunk and Merge Records, took on the topic of young, exuberant love. Listen to 'em as your mood sees fit.
Below, Sarah Shook's picks on loneliness:
Junior Wells, "Come On In This House" The aching, bleeding pleadings of a lonesome and desperate lover from my favorite male blues singer, Junior Wells.
Lo Carmen, "Everyone You Ever Knew (Is Coming Back To Haunt You)" Sometimes it seems our pal loneliness best provides the cracks for recollections and regret to flood in. Throw in some dissonance, and I’m a goner.
Campdogzz, "Healer" The voice of Jessica Price completely overwhelms with its humble fervor and nerve-wracking honesty. Campdogzz nine track 2015 release, Riders in the Hills of Dying Heaven, is not so much a cure as it is a trusted and true companion to the lonely.
Daniel Romano, "He Lets Her Memory Go (Wild)" While I do feel Daniel Romano missed a sort of golden opportunity to portray the subject in a far less blatantly traditional role, no argument can be made that in the fibers of this song we find a masterpiece. Maybe the answer to loneliness is to let the memories of those we have lost run unfettered.
George Jones, "Just One More" Throughout the vast landscapes of time and verse, the bottle and loneliness find themselves in the same room, at the same table, with remarkable frequency. The great George Jones finds himself in the crosshairs on such an occasion here.
Jason Molina, "Don't It Look Like Rain" If unadulterated loneliness were ever to take human form, I do believe some saw him when Jason Molina was among us.
Lhasa de la Sela, "De Cara a la Pared" Much like laughter, loneliness recognizes no boundary based on language or nationality. One does not need to understand the language for the masterful swell, lilt, and hush—and blistering tone—of Lhasa de la Sela’s commanding voice to convey profound loss.
Elliott Smith, "2:45 AM" I would be amiss to not include him, as Elliott Smith is the reason I started making music. With a world full of complete strangers, he shared the darkest and deepest trenches of his struggles in and with this life with more a desire to get things off his chest than to speak his mind.