Album Review: Zoe Muth & The Lost High Rollers — Old Gold

Juli Thanki | July 25th, 2012

zoemutholdgold2011’s Starlight Hotel established Zoe Muth as one of the best under-the-radar country artists out there, with a plaintive voice that wrapped around well-written songs like “Let’s Just Be Friends for Tonight” and “If I Can’t Trust You with a Quarter (How Can I Trust You with My Heart).” With her new EP Old Gold (out July 24), the Seattle singer-songwriter puts down her pen and covers a handful of songs from artists who’ve influenced her over the years, including John Prine and Anna McGarrigle.

Though cover records are hit and miss, this one’s the former by far. The biggest surprise on the album is the cover of Dock Boggs’ oldtimey banjo-driven “Country Blues,” which, in the hands of Muth – who, in the liner notes, names the song as “one of the first and most influential to my early education in rural American music” — and her band the Lost High Rollers, becomes a midtempo, jukebox-friendly country tune. “I’ve Been Deceived,” written by Bill Cantrell and Quinton Claunch, stays rather close to Rockabilly Hall of Famer Charlie Feathers’ version, with the addition of solid mandolin picking from Lost High Roller Ethan Lawton.

An understated version of “Get It While You Can,” the Jerry Ragovoy/Mort Shuman song, lacks the soul of Howard Tate and Janis Joplin’s stellar recordings, but serves as a fine closer. The album’s one original track, “Walking the Line,” sounds as though it could have been pulled from one of Bonnie Owens’ late ‘60s LPs, with lyrics like “I wore my heart right on my sleeve/I wanted you for my lovin’ man/That’s how it was going to be/I was hopin’ I wouldn’t have to play the fool, but now I see/I’m walking the line while you walk all over me” delivered with heart-wrenching sincerity.

Simultaneously warm and world weary, Old Gold is the feel-bad album of the summer. But with Muth, feeling bad sounds so damn good.

3.5 Stars

Preview or purchase Old Gold

  1. Ben Foster
    July 25, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    I really enjoyed Muth’s Starlight Hotel, so I will most definitely have to check this set out.

  2. Rick
    July 25, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Zoe is one of the most mellow people I have ever met and is relaxed in the same way as Don Williams as a performer. I do like her recorded music but prefer her in a live setting. Angela Easterling is another Americana gal who also shines brighter live. I would love to see an Americana Gal Power tour featuring Zoe, Angela, and Sara Petite! Crikey that would be a good show mate.

  3. Leeann Ward
    July 25, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Yeah, Zoe is even better live. We thoroughly enjoyed her show that we had a chance to attend a year or so ago. I have this album, but haven’t listened to it yet. I’m looking forward to it though.

Tagged In This Article

// // // // // // // //

Current Discussion

  • Tom: ...it is almost the year 2015 - ain't it about time we leave people (celebrities included) having the personal relations …
  • Paul W Dennis: I had assumed that Herndon was gay after the incident that Lucky Old Sun referenced, but bought the next Herndon …
  • Jonathan Pappalardo: For anyone who wants to buy it, the Rosanne Cash 45 is available again. With 1000 copies being created, I …
  • luckyoldsun: It seemed that the old morals arrest incident really did Herndon in. He was a pretty big country star before …
  • CraigR.: Hopefully in the future being gay or straight won't matter at all. And then people won't have to hide their …
  • Bruce: Jim has a remarkable voice for his age. Heck, for any age.
  • bob: Good luck to Herndon and Gilman. I've seen Herndon in concert. While I liked his 90's material better, he's still …
  • Leeann Ward: It was Brad Paisley and its on his Christmas album.
  • luckyoldsun: I seem to recall hearing a recording of the Christmas song "Walking in the Winter Wonderland" where the line "In …
  • Leeann Ward: For a slow new Christmas music year, the announcement of the Jamey Johnson Christmas EP and the Christmas tracks by …

Recently Reviewed Albums

  • walkerandthetexasdangers3
  • deadmanstown
  • tom t hall storytellers
  • paulthorntooblessed
  • duhksbeyondtheblue
  • kelleymickwee
  • sandrarhodes
  • candi staton