Tennessee-born, Murray, KY-based singer/songwriter and guitarist S.G. Goodman was born and raised in a strict, church-going family of row crop farmers, near the Mississippi River. Eventually she went from singing and playing in her local church three times a week to becoming a prominent member of hometown’s art and music scene, as well as an impassioned voice and presence in the sociopolitical movements she supports.
Goodman’s Jim James-produced full-length debut Old Time Feeling was released through Verve Forecast Records earlier this year. Recorded at Louisville, KY-based La La Land Studio, because it featured three of Goodman’s favorite things — “a creek, a big porch and a kitchen” — the Old Time Feeling sessions were imbued with a down home, familial and community touch: in between the album’s recording. the Murray-based singer/songwriter cooked meals for the studio staff and for her backing band, which features her lifelong friends Matthew David Rowan (guitar) and S. Knox Montgomery (drums.)
The album’s songs are a brutally honest and loving look at the complexities of rural Southern life that debunks rural stereotypes while drawing from Goodman’s personal experiences as an openly gay woman with OCD in a deeply religious community. Thematically, the album touches upon estrangement, reconciliation and loving your family and community despite the fact that you might completely disagree with them on political and social issues.
Old Time Feeling‘s first single “The Way I Talk” is a slow-burning and sultry country-tinged blues centered around a sinuous bass line, shimmering guitars, explosive peals of feedback, dramatic and forceful drumming and Goodman’s plaintive, Western Kentucky drawl. And much like “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” which “The Way I Talk” subtly references, the song is brutally honest look at the plight of the rural working class and rural poor — in particular, the rural farming community she still lives in.
“The song is inspired by the plight of the farming community in Kentucky where I grew up, where big business and the laws that protect them have vast control over my community,” Goodman told The Fader earlier this year. “It is a scary thing calling into question the very thing that put food on my table and is putting food on my niece’s table (she plays the little girl in the official video, also released earlier this year). Isn’t that the case for every person working a factory line who is afraid to unionize? Or a fast food employee afraid to take sick leave to care for her kid? We are all expected to be thankful, not question, and shut our mouths.”
Goodman recently released a live video version of “The Way I Talk” and added some additional comments upon its release: “It is easy to cast judgement on a place you don’t truly understand, on a place whose people have remained exploited. Our food reflects that exploitation, our health, and the way we make our living. I have chosen to remain in the south. I was born in Tennessee and raised right across the state line in Kentucky.”
“Like many people living in the south, my ethics and beliefs do not align with my neighbors, and at many times those sitting across the table from me, but there are those who remain here who are working to bring change. There are people here who are breaking generational cycles. Those are the stories that matter to me, those are the stories that I strive to tell. ”