Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about the rising Murray, KY-born and based singer/songwriter, S.G. Goodman. Born and raised in a strict, church-going family of row crop farmers, near the Mississippi River, Goodman went from singing and playing in church three times a week to becoming a prominent member of Murray’s DIY arts and music scene, as well as an impassioned voice and presence in the political and social movements she supports.
Slated for a May 29, 2020 release through Verve Forecast Records, Goodman’s Jim James-produced full-length debut Old Time Feeling was recorded at Feeling is slated for a May 29, 2020 release through Verve Forecast Records. Recorded at Louisville, KY-based La La Land Studio. which was specifically chosen by Goodman because it possessed her three favorite things — “a creek, a big porch and a kitchen.” The sessions were imbued with a familial and communal touch: Goodman cooked meals for the studio crew and her backing band, which includes lifelong friends Matthew David Rowan (guitar) and S. Knox Montgomery (drums).
Reportedly, the album’s material is a brutally honest, loving and complex look at rural Southern life that debunks rural stereotypes while drawing from her own experiences as a gay woman and artist in a rural and deeply religious Southern community. Interestingly, the album also touches up on living with OCD, estrangement, reconciliation and loving your family and community although you might disagree with them on political and social issues. Now, as you may recall, I caught the rising Kentuckian play her first New York Metropolitan area set at Communion at Rockwood Music Hall, and the set revealed that album finds Goodman and her backing band crafting a sound that meshes elements of old-school country, folk, Delta blues and rockabilly paired with Goodman’s aching Patsy Cline-like vocals.
“The Way I Talk,” Old Time Feeling’s slow-burning, country-tinged blues-like first single subtly nodded at “Coal Miner’s Daughter” — in the sense that it’s a brutally honest look at the plight and concerns of the rural farming community she grew up in. Much like every aspect of our flies, big business interests have acted in concert with politicians to exploit and destroy the lives and well-being of everyone within their path, leaving the poor to fight the poor for limited resources and options. And as a result, the song seethes with anger and defiant pride. Centered around a sparse arrangement of strummed guitar, atmospheric electric guitar and Goodman’s aching vocals, “Red Bird Morning,” Old Time Feeling’s second and latest single is a haunting and forlorn song, full of regret, loneliness and of heartbreak fueled departures. The song evokes tear-streaked drives, endless blacktop and hours of your own thoughts, replaying everything that’s just happened from 126 different directions.
Inspired by Goodman’s experience of volunteering at the Standing Rock protests, the song tells the story of her journey to the camp and the failed relationship she was leaving behind. “At a time when I was going through the wrong turns my failed relationship had taken, my mind was brought back to the roads that led me to Cannon Ball, North Dakota,” Goodman explains in press notes. “Through the imagery of that voyage, I was able to capture the feeling of a different forlorn journey. The Standing Rock Protest was a prayer protest, and upon arriving at the camp, my job was to help thaw out wood for the sacred fire. I remember being prayed over, and praying in my own way for the first time in years. The experience was transformative not only by joining others in a valid cause, but in what it sparked in my personal spiritual life.”
The recently released video for “Red Bird Morning” was shot on an iPhone by Goodman and her friend Tim Johns, after the original shoot was canceled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Filmed a few days before stay at home orders were issued, the black and white video is shot in black and white and includes footage of bleak and empty landscapes, and in and around Goodman’s Kentucky home. And employ an interesting use of light and darkness, the video emphasizes the stark loneliness and aching regret at the core of the song.
“It’s funny how the universe can have a heavy hand in making what was meant to be, happen,” Goodman says of the video. “In the same way the track itself, which is actually a demo, is bare and to the point, piecing together footage that fit the soundscape of the song became just another exercise of ‘less is often what is called for.’”