Recommendation IX: k.d. lang

Looks like I’m back now. I’ve had an incredibly busy week and have been doing a lot of studying and other things, so I knew I had to make a new entry while I had some time to spare. It takes me quite some time to write these up and get them published, so please try to be patient lol. Earlier this week, I found that much to my surprise and delight, Kevin @ Country Universe was inspired by me with this blog’s format (which is funny because he inspired me with this blog haha), so he now has a new feature on his site, appropriately titled “Choice Cuts”. Check out the first feature that spotlights a song from the great Emmylou Harris.

My ninth recommendation is: k.d. lang’s “I’m Down to My Last Cigarette” from her 1988 Shadowland album.  Don’t let her odd appearance fool you: this woman is amazing and has a voice that totally stands out on its own with a great amount of power that will hold you. I don’t remember the first time I heard it: all I remember is that I was curious about her several years ago, and I read up her biography online and wanted to know more (you can read up on her on Wikipedia here). I think the original interest in k.d. lang was because I found out she sang a song I liked from years back, called “Constant Craving”.  That song is a pop tune and I love it now, so I was surprised to read that she used to sing traditional country songs in her career before the pop songs. Seems like her appearance and the fact that she is not straight, made Nashville look down on her and reject her, even despite her immense talent. I won’t go too far into that since I want to talk more about the song, but it’s definitely an interesting topic to discuss, considering how radio is lacking some of the best country music it could have, but they don’t want it for mostly dumb reasons.

“I’m Down to My Last Cigarette” is a song about a woman desperately waiting by the phone for her lover to call, like they told her they would, and she’s still holding onto that notion, but it never comes, but she also really knows that they’re out with someone else. From the sweet twin-fiddle intro into this mid-tempo country song, and the mesmerizing steel guitar parts, you will get pulled in. Adding to that, her voice is so pure and almost Pasty Cline-like, and still very unique. This song is just one of those traditional country songs that just makes you feel so good, even when the song is not a feel-good song lol, because it’s just so country and it hits your ears, heart, and soul and just… feels good. Don’t know how to describe that, but if you hear it, you may know what I mean ;) . My favorite vocal line that she delivers is when she sings: ” I can’t leave this room. You might call while I’m gone. The minutes seem like hours. “, because her phrasing is…oh, can’t describe it…just awesome. And I think maybe everyone has done that at least once. Someone has such a grasp on you that you’re so bent on their call that you get nervous they might not or whatever. I don’t smoke at all, and for sure would not smoke a cigarette, but that doesn’t mess up the song for me lol. The song is #4 on my iTunes “Top 36 Most Played Songs” list! (that means it’s really good stuff!)

k.d.’s voice is so powerful, especially when you hear her other songs, like “Constant Craving”, “Crying” (duet with Roy Orbison), “Curious Soul Astray”, “Trail of Broken Hearts”, “Simple”, “Sin City” (duet with Dwight Yoakam) and one of my other personal favorites, “Surrender”, from the James Bond soundtrack for Tomorrow Never Dies (actually, I think it was the soundtrack-involvement that got me to look her up at first). She has tons of other great songs, and I don’t know all of them, but she’s one of those artists where I love to buy music from on my iTunes. Such a pity that country music turned her down, but I believe that since she got to expand her horizons into other genres, she has created a beautiful variety of music and has become her own through that.

Thanks for reading!

Buy the song here on iTunes now!

Here are the lyrics to “I’m Down to My Last Cigarette”, written by Harlan Howard & Billy Walker:

The coffee’s all gone
And my eyes burn like fire
It’s way past the hour
When most folks retire
You told me you’d call me
But you haven’t yet
And I’m down to my last cigarette

I’m down to my last cigarette
For I know what made you forget
You’re still out there somewhere
With someone you met
And I’m down to my last cigarette

I can’t leave this room
You might call while I’m gone
The minutes seem like hours
Its soon will be dawn
And on top of all
Of my tears and regrets
I’m down to my last cigarette

I’m down to my last cigarette
And I’m trying so hard to forget
But you’re still out there somewhere
With someone you met
And I’m down to my last cigarette

Ohh, I’m down to my last cigarette

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http://www.kdlang.com/

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2 Comments

  1. I bought this one on your recommendation. It really does have that classic Nashville sound thing going on. I don’t have much of lang in my collection – just “Crying” and “Constant Craving”, but hearing “Cigarette” makes me want to check out more of her country stuff.

  2. Thanks! You definitely gotta add more k.d. !…


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